Fauci ‘absolutely not’ surprised Trump got COVID-19

Top United States infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said he was “absolutely not” surprised that President Donald Trump contracted the coronavirus.

The US president announced earlier this month that he and his wife, Melania, had tested positive for COVID-19.

Trump returned to the White House after spending three nights in a military hospital where he received experimental treatments to tackle the disease.

“I was worried that he was going to get sick when I saw him in a completely precarious situation of crowded, no separation between people and almost nobody wearing a mask,” Fauci said in an interview with 60 Minutes on Sunday.

The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases was referring to Trump’s appearance at what “turned out to be a superspreader event” at the White House Rose Garden on September 26 where multiple people, including the president, were infected.

Fauci also said that media appearances during the pandemic have been controlled by the White House.

“I certainly have not been allowed to go many, many, many shows that have asked for me,” he said, adding that the restrictions had been inconsistent.

Ahead of the November presidential election, Trump’s campaign released early this month a television advertisement which features what appear to be positive remarks from Fauci over the president’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

“I got really ticked off,” he said, stressing that his words were taken out of the context. “I’ll never publicly endorse any political candidate … and they are sticking me right in the middle of a campaign ad which I thought was outrageous, I was referring to something entirely different.”

Fauci’s remarks were made a few hours before Trump held a rally in Nevada where he said that the country was “rounding the turn” on the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump’s comments came as the US reported, on Friday, 68,000 new infections in just one day – its highest daily jump in cases since July.

So far, the US has seen more than 8.1 million cases and almost 220,000 deaths, the highest figures globally.

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