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Trump Attacks Fauci Over Coronavirus

  • October 20, 2020

He added, “People are tired of hearing Fauci and these idiots, all these idiots who got it wrong.”

Dr. Fauci’s cautionary words are borne out by the numbers. More than 70,450 new coronavirus cases were reported in the United States on Friday, the highest figure since July 24, according to a New York Times database. More than 900 new deaths were recorded. And over the past week, there has been an average of 56,615 cases per day, an increase of 30 percent from the average two weeks earlier.

But beyond pushing for a vaccine, the Trump administration has refrained from confronting the threat aggressively, pushing instead to fully open the economy and get children back in school.

The White House coronavirus task force, which met daily at the outset of the pandemic, now meets about once a week and hosts a weekly conference call with governors, typically to address specific topics like testing and nursing home guidance. Its agenda is largely focused on nuts-and-bolts matters like vaccine reimbursements, state and national stockpiles and whether cruise ships should be allowed to sail.

“The administration’s coronavirus strategy is fundamentally rooted in the bedrock objective of saving lives and helping our country safely open and stay open,” Michael Bars, a White House spokesman, said. “As always, coronavirus-related matters receive appropriate attention, consultation, and input from Task Force experts.”

But the composition of the task force is changing.

Mr. Trump’s pandemic adviser, Dr. Scott W. Atlas, a neuroradiologist with no experience in infectious disease or epidemiology, is a rising power within the White House, embracing a response that calls for allowing the coronavirus to spread naturally while protecting only the most vulnerable. Over the weekend, Twitter removed a post in which Dr. Atlas questioned the efficacy of mask wearing, decreeing it misinformation.

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