Dr. Anthony Fauci, a leading infectious disease expert on the White House’s coronavirus task force, said the frequency of his meetings with President Donald Trump has been “dramatically decreased.”
In an interview with health-oriented news website Stat published Monday, Fauci said Trump does not talk to him about vaccine development often.
“We used to have task force meetings every single day, including Saturday and Sunday, and about 75% of the time after the task force meeting we’d meet with the president,” Fauci said. “So I was meeting with him four times a week back a month or so ago.”
He continued: “But as you probably noticed, that the task force meetings have not occurred as often lately. And certainly my meetings with the president have been dramatically decreased.”
The White House did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
Vice President Mike Pence, whom Trump appointed to lead the coronavirus task force, said last month that the White House may wind down the group in early June.
“We’ve already begun to talk about a transition plan with [the Federal Emergency Management Agency],” Pence told reporters on May 5. “But it’s — it really is all a reflection of the tremendous progress we’ve made as a country.”
Trump stopped hosting daily press briefings on the country’s coronavirus response after internal polling suggested the appearances were hurting his favorability among voters, Axios reported last month.
The U.S. has by far the highest number of documented COVID-19 cases and deaths around the world. As of Monday, more than 1.7 million people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with the disease caused by the coronavirus and at least 104,000 have died from it, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Following months of stay-at-home orders, all 50 states have begun reopening in some form. At least 15 states, including California, North Carolina and Virginia, have had an increase in newly reported cases over the last 14 days, reported The New York Times.
Fauci told Stat that he’s “concerned” when he sees people crowding together in an area where there’s a “considerable amount of viral activity.”
“You see people crowding around bars — and there were several pictures of that, that was quite striking over the last couple of days — or on boardwalks, where they’re very, very close to each other,” he said. “I do get concerned.”
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