July 14, 2020
By Walt Williams
Two associations are throwing their support behind the nation’s chief infectious disease expert amid criticism by President Donald Trump and media reports of a smear campaign launched by the White House.
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In recent days, Trump and his allies have directed their ire at Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, for allegedly bungling the early response to COVID-19. Multiple news outlets say that criticism has also taken the form of a campaign by White House officials to undermine public confidence in Fauci. Trump’s critics and public health experts say what the administration is really trying to do is deflect blame for its own failures in containing the pandemic.
The Association of American Medical Colleges joined the chorus of critics in a joint statement Monday defending Fauci. CEO David Skorton and Chief Scientific Officer Ross McKinney said they were “extremely concerned and alarmed by efforts to discredit” the nation’s top infectious disease expert in the middle of a pandemic.
“As we are seeing from the surge in COVID-19 cases in areas that have reopened, science and facts—not wishful thinking or politics—must guide America’s response to this pandemic,” they said.
“Taking quotes from Dr. Fauci out of context to discredit his scientific knowledge and judgment will do tremendous harm to our nation’s efforts to get the virus under control, restore our economy, and return us to a more normal way of life,” they added.
The Infectious Diseases Society of America also weighed in with a statement calling media reports about a campaign to discredit Fauci "disturbing."
"If we have any hope of ending this crisis, all of America must support public health experts, including Dr. Fauci, and stand with science," IDSA President Thomas File said.
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