• White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci in a new CNN interview blamed at least some of the US coronavirus deaths during the pandemic on errors made by Trump administration officials.
  • According to the latest COVID statistics from John Hopkins University, there have been more than 412,000 coronavirus deaths in the US since the start of the pandemic.
  • The scale of the pandemic is so staggering, in fact, that President Biden said this week the US probably won’t be able to change the trajectory for a few more months.

The latest COVID-19 statistics from Johns Hopkins University show that, through Friday, the US has recorded more than 24.7 million cases of the virus as well as more than 412,000 coronavirus deaths. And White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci thinks that errors made by Trump administration officials are responsible for at least some of those deaths.

That’s what Dr. Fauci said during an interview Friday on CNN, demonstrating the degree he’s now been allowed free rein to be candid in his remarks to the press following the inauguration of President Biden on Wednesday. Now that he’s out from under the thumb of Trump officials, in other words.

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CNN host John Berman asked Dr. Fauci, which you can see in the video below, whether the Trump administration’s at times fact-free approach to handling the coronavirus pandemic cost lives. Dr. Fauci responded that “it very likely did.”

“You can see that when you’re starting to go down paths that are not based on any science at all — and we’ve been there before, I don’t want to rehash it. That is not helpful at all. And particularly when you’re in the situation of almost being in a crisis, with the number of cases and hospitalizations and deaths that we have, when you start talking about things that make no sense medically and no sense scientifically, that clearly is not helpful.”

To get a sense of what Dr. Fauci means when he says we’re still in something of a crisis relative to COVID-19, a CNBC analysis of the latest seven-day average of Johns Hopkins data shows that the US is still seeing at least 187,500 new coronavirus cases and at least 3,050 coronavirus deaths every day.

The scale of the crisis is, in fact, so staggering that President Biden told reporters this week “there’s nothing we can do to change the trajectory of the pandemic in the next several months.” Accordingly, the White House on Thursday released a nearly 200-page strategy outlining the myriad steps the Biden administration will be taking to bring the COVID pandemic under control, including by using the Defense Production Act for vaccine production.

“We have a serious opponent here,” Dr. Fauci said during his CNN interview. “The president made the analogy of a war … if you look at the numbers, over 400,000 people dead, that’s quite comparable to World War II.”

Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.