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Fauci says it’s ‘liberating’ to work on addressing pandemic under Biden

Jen Psaki, Anthony Fauci
Posted at 4:08 PM, Jan 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-21 17:38:07-05

WASHINGTON, D.C. – During Thursday’s White House press briefing, Dr. Anthony Fauci opened up about the differences he’s noticed between the Trump and Biden administrations.

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Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said one of the things that they’re doing differently under President Joe Biden is being “completely transparent.”

“If things go wrong, not point fingers, but to correct them. And to make everything we do be based on science and evidence,” said Fauci.

He also said in the Biden administration, the rule will be “if you don’t know the answer, don’t guess.”

Fauci said he didn’t feel that he could actually say something without any repercussions under former President Donald Trump.

"The idea that you can get up here and talk about what you know, what the evidence, what the science is and know that it, let the science speak – it is something of a liberating feeling,” said Fauci.

When speaking about the status of the COVID-19 pandemic, Fauci said it looks like coronavirus cases are plateauing, but he's not celebrating yet.

“When you look more recently at the seven-day average of cases – remember we were going between 3 and 400,000, 2 and 300,000 – right now it looks like it might actually be plateauing in the since of turning around,” said Fauci.

Fauci says there’s good news in that, but we have to make sure we’re not seeing an “artifact” of the slowing down following the holidays. Essentially, he said we may see a dip in the number of reported cases, but that data could just be lagging, and more people could actually be sick.

Fauci also spoke about the new coronavirus variants that are being discovered. He said some of the variants do seem to be more contagious, but he said the vaccines should still be effective against them. He said the variant discovered in the U.K. is in several states, but it doesn’t look like a strain from South Africa has made its way to the U.S.

"Thus, far, it does not appear at all that the South African strain is in the United States. However, we must be honest and say that the level of comprehensive sequence surveillance thus far is not at the level we would have liked," said Fauci.

Lastly, Fauci touched on his hopes for vaccinating the public. He said he still expects most Americans to be vaccinated by the middle of the year.

“The best-case scenario for me would be getting 85% of the population vaccinated by the end of the summer. If we do, then by the time we get to the fall, I think we can approach a degree of normality,” said Fauci.