Trump slams health experts, downplays rift with Dr Fauci

This article is more than 12 months old

WASHINGTON : President Donald Trump on Monday took a swipe at health experts in his government leading the US response to the coronavirus, and one of them, Dr Anthony Fauci, answered with an appeal for states to stick to guidelines to snuff out a surge in cases.

The Republican president, seeking re-election in November, has been increasingly critical of government health officials and their guidance as a steady rise in infections threatens the easing of shutdown restrictions across the country.

Mr Trump retweeted to his 83 million followers the accusations of a former game show host that "everyone is lying," including the federal Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

"The most outrageous lies are the ones about Covid 19. Everyone is lying. The CDC, Media, Democrats, our Doctors, not all but most, that we are told to trust," Mr Chuck Woolery wrote on Sunday night without citing evidence.

Last week, Mr Trump said he thought CDC guidelines for schools reopening were too tough, impractical and expensive.

The White House did not respond to questions on whether the president believed the CDC was lying.

Mr Trump told reporters later at the White House: "I have a very good relationship with Dr Fauci. I find him to be a very nice person. I don't always agree with him."

Dr Fauci ascribed the surge in cases to the country's failure to shut down completely, then a rush to reopen too soon, and urged a commitment to guidelines to rub out the disease.

"All you needed to do was look at the films on TV of people in some states who went from shutdown to completely throwing caution to the wind - bars that were crowded, people without masks," Dr Fauci said during a Stanford University event.

The US on Monday confirmed 59,222 new cases in the previous 24 hours, Johns Hopkins University reported.

That put the total number of cases in the US at more than 3.36 million, the university said. Another 411 fatalities were reported, bringing the death toll to 135,582. - REUTERS, AFP