Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on efforts to get back to work and school during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Washington, D.C., June 30, 2020.
Al Drago | Reuters
White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday that he and his family have required continued security in the face of harassment and death threats from people angry over his guidance on the coronavirus pandemic.
“The unseemingly things that crises bring out in the world, it brings out the best of people and the worst of people, and getting death threats to my family and harassing my daughters to the point where I have to get security — it’s amazing,” Fauci said in an interview with CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta on Harvard’s School of Public Health website that was streamed on Facebook live.
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has been assigned a beefed-up security team since at least early April after he and his family received serious threats over his work to mitigate the spread of the virus.
“I wouldn’t have imagined in my wildest dreams that people who object to things that are pure public health principles are so set against it and don’t like what you and I say, namely in the world of science, that they actually threaten you,” Fauci said.
“I mean, that to me is just strange,” he added.
Fauci and Trump administration officials have often held opposing views on how to best contain the coronavirus, which has infected roughly 4.8 million people in the U.S., according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Public safety guidelines like wearing face coverings, social distancing and avoiding large crowds have become a point of contention in the U.S. and has hindered efforts to slow the spread of infections.
“There is a degree of anti-science feeling in this country,” Fauci said.
“I think it’s not just related to science, it’s almost related to authority and a mistrust in authority that spills over because in some respects, scientists because they’re trying to present data may be looked at … as being an authoritative figure,” he said.