The US “could not possibly be positioned more poorly” in its fight against coronavirus as winter approaches – that’s the warning from one of Donald Trump’s top advisers.
Dr Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the government’s strategy for tackling COVID-19 needed an “abrupt change”.
Dr Fauci told The Washington Post the US situation is “not good”.
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“All the stars are aligned in the wrong place as you go into the fall and winter season, with people congregating at home indoors,” he said.
“You could not possibly be positioned more poorly.”
His warning came as the country recorded 99,000 new infections in a single day.
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Dr Fauci cautioned the US could surpass 100,000 new coronavirus cases a day, and predicted worse to come.
He said that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden “is taking it seriously from a public health perspective”, whereas President Donald Trump is “looking at it from a different perspective” – namely, “the economy and reopening the country”.
A White House spokesman called Dr Fauci’s claims “unacceptable” for “breaking with all norms… to choose three days before an election to play politics”.
As a senior adviser to Mr Trump on coronavirus, Dr Fauci has “a duty to express concerns or push for a change in strategy, but he’s not done that”, the spokesperson continued.
They accused him of “choosing to criticise the president in the media” with an intervention that would “make his political leanings known” by praising the president’s opponent.
Who is Dr Anthony Fauci?
- Member of the White House coronavirus taskforce, chaired by US Vice President Mike Pence
- Has led the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984
- Widely viewed as one the country’s top infectious disease experts
- Advised six different presidents on health matters – particularly HIV/AIDS
- Developed effective therapies for previously fatal diseases
Meanwhile Mr Trump and Mr Biden are entering the final few days of campaigning in a last-ditch bid to hoover up the 270 electoral college votes that will guarantee one of them the White House.
Mr Biden is on 52% compared to Mr Trump’s 42%, according to a new national poll by NBC and The Wall Street Journal, which has a margin of error of around 3%.
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That would put the Democrat challenger further ahead than Hilary Clinton was in 2016 – her lead had narrowed to 4% by the same point at the last election.
Mr Biden’s camp has accused the president’s supporters of trying to “put our staff, surrogates, supporters, and others in harm’s way” by surrounding a campaign bus travelling through Texas.
But Mr Trump welcomed the action, tweeting a video of the incident, writing: “I LOVE TEXAS!”