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Here’s what Dr. Fauci wishes he would have done differently about the COVID-19 response

Published Nov 18th, 2020 4:26PM EST
Image: YouTube

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  • According to the latest coronavirus update for the US, more than 11.36 million cases of the COVID-19 virus have been discovered here, and more than 248,000 deaths from the virus have been reported, based on Johns Hopkins University data.
  • In a new interview, White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci admits to one regret related to his involvement in the US coronavirus response.
  • Dr. Fauci says he would have liked to press harder for more widespread testing early in the pandemic.

White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci

sounded the warning about how bad the coronavirus pandemic could get early enough that he quickly became one of the few authoritative sources the US collectively turned to as this catastrophic health crisis unfolded. Indeed, while some public figures have come across like the kind of Pollyanna that does nobody any good right now, Fauci has called for strong enough measures in response to the pandemic and given such bleak coronavirus updates that even a journalist — Fox News contributor Lisa Boothe — described him just a few days ago as “a little tyrant.”

You’d think after seeing Dr. Fauci’s worst predictions about the state of the pandemic in the winter months in the US coming true that people would see he’s mostly right on the money. And yet, even Dr. Fauci himself confesses that he has at least one regret about his contribution to the coronavirus response in the US, which he acknowledged to the health news website STAT.

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Basically, Dr. Fauci regrets that he didn’t advocate more strongly for widespread coronavirus testing early on in the pandemic. “I thought we should be flooding the system with testing,” Dr. Fauci told STAT. “There weren’t enough tests then.

“It never became a reality, because we never really had enough tests to do the tests that you had to do … But deep down, perhaps I should have been much more vocal about saying we have really, absolutely, got to do that. I saw that it went nowhere and maybe I should have kept pushing the envelope on that.”

The reason why testing is so crucial is because of the prevalence of asymptomatic COVID cases. Without testing and catching all those cases involving people who don’t otherwise show any systems, you’re essentially flying blind during the pandemic. “What is going on now that you don’t recognize becomes a case a few weeks later,” Dr. Fauci said.

“That becomes a hospitalization a few weeks later. That becomes intensive care a few days later. That becomes death a few weeks later.”

On the flip side, something Dr. Fauci praises about the US coronavirus response is the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed program, which involved the federal government pumping billions of dollars into vaccine research, trials, and manufacturing. As STAT explains, a lot of that money was dedicated to building infrastructure around a vaccine supply before that supply is fully ready, in order to shave off the amount of time between when a vaccine is approved and when it starts to be distributed.

“Beyond historic.” That’s how Dr. Fauci describes the speed with which we’ve gone from discovering a never-before-seen virus to having multiple potential vaccines now reporting Phase 3 clinical trial data — all within the span of less than a year.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.