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This is Dr. Fauci’s fiery message to people who think COVID-19 isn’t real

Published Nov 21st, 2020 9:01AM EST
Image: Graeme Jennings - Pool via CNP/MEGA

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  • According to the latest coronavirus update from Johns Hopkins University, more than 252,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus so far — and more than 11.7 million Americans have been sickened by the virus.
  • In a new interview, White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci addressed one of the reasons for this — let’s call them coronavirus-deniers.
  • “Things are going in the wrong direction,” Dr. Fauci said. “I mean, let’s go folks. What about that don’t you understand?”

According to the latest coronavirus update on Friday regarding the state of the pandemic and the timetable for the arrival of vaccines, five federal agencies in the US have started telling employees they could get a COVID-19 vaccine shot in just 8 weeks from now. That’s wildly impressive speed for the arrival of a vaccine — about a year from the initial discovery of the novel pathogen that the vaccine is meant to fight — and a sorely needed bright spot amid the crush of bad news related to the effect the pandemic is having in the US right now.

The latest data from Johns Hopkins University shows that more than 252,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus so far, and more than 11.71 million Americans have been sickened by the virus. Part of the reason for this, unfortunately, is the fact that there are still so many people not taking the fact that we’re in a pandemic seriously — and plenty who don’t even believe the pandemic is a real thing at all. Something that the normally pretty diplomatic White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci took the gloves off to address in a new interview.

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To get a sense of how stunningly un-tethered from reality the coronavirus denialism is — and why Dr. Fauci’s comments were necessary in the first place — it helps to look to someone like El Paso-based nurse Ashley Bartholomew, who shared the details from one of her recent hospital encounters in a widely shared Twitter thread that drew media attention from the likes of Vanity Fair, Dan Rather and others.

Long story short, she mentions talking to one COVID patient in his hospital bed who decried “fake news” and said that he doesn’t think COVID is “really more than a flu.”

“Now, you think differently, though?” she asked him — again, while he’s in the hospital being treated for COVID.

Bartholomew continues: “He replies, ‘No the same. I should just take vitamins for my immune system. They (news) are making it a big deal.’ … I’m at a loss for words. Here I am basically wrapped in tarp, here he is in a COVID ICU. How can you deny the validity of COVID? … Misinformation is literally killing people.”

It was exactly this kind of thing that Dr. Fauci decided to address in some fiery remarks during a session with the USA TODAY editorial board, which you can watch below:

“There are obviously going to be some differences, because we have such a large, diverse country,” Fauci said, about the fact that people across the US rarely have uniform agreement on something. “But the differences shouldn’t be fundamental.

“There should be really some common denominators that everyone follows. We’ve got to say, ‘OK, folks, enough is enough with this political divisiveness, with this claiming that people are making things up. Get rid of these ridiculous conspiracy theories and realize this is a public health crisis.’ … We don’t want to shut down as a nation because of the psychological and economic consequences of that. But we at least have got to be consistent in doing some fundamental things, so that’s what concerns me.”

On Thursday, the US reported another sobering record: 187,833 new coronavirus cases, per data from Johns Hopkins.

“Things are going in the wrong direction,” Dr. Fauci continued. “I mean, let’s go folks. What about that don’t you understand?

“When you ask me about frustration, which borders on pain, it’s that either people don’t want to look at the data or they look at the data and they say it’s fake. No, it isn’t fake … This is a global issue. I tell the people who deny or think that this is nothing, do you mean that every single country in Europe is doing the same thing, is making things up? They’re not. I mean, it’s so obvious.”

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.

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