Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease specialist, appeared on Fox News Sunday to speak with host Chris Wallace about COVID-19 vaccine rollout, supply versus demand concerns, where the nation might be in terms of the virus come to the Fourth of July, and of course, Donald Trump.
Based on recent polling from PBS NewsHour/NPR/Marist that suggests nearly half of Republican men don’t plan to receive the coronavirus vaccine, many are already worried that even when we have enough vaccine supply, we might run out of demand. Fauci broke down what he believes Trump, who unlike some of his recent predecessors has taken a notable backseat in promoting the vaccine, can do to help matters along. Because, after all, public health matters affect both the individual person and, in the big, big picture, the whole country.
First, Fauci and Wallace discuss whether Fauci thinks President Joe Biden’s tentative time outline for vaccine availability and distribution might be reasonable. Biden has suggested that by May 1st, states open vaccine eligibility to all adults and that by July 4th, he believes it’s possible people will be able to have small, outdoor gatherings, like a barbeque, with family.
Fauci said he does believe this timeline is entirely possible, but warned against states reopening too early, as that could cause another surge in cases. He noted that while a fresh surge would not necessarily affect vaccine availability, it would still negatively impact our overall public health situation. He also pointed out that our nation has previously experienced dips in cases only to have numbers surge back up. Basically: States need to slow way down. Now is not the time to get confident and toss out masks and regulations.
Wallace played a short clip wherein a number of past presidents, including Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama, promoted getting the coronavirus vaccine. Trump, notably, was absent. Wallace pointed out that, according to polling from PBS NewsHour/NPR/Marist, nearly 50% of Republican men do not plan to get the vaccine.
Wallace’s question: How much of a difference does Fauci think it would make if Trump “leads a campaign” for the people who are “most devoted to him” to actually get the vaccine?
“I think it would make all the difference in the world,” Fauci stated. He went on to say that he is “surprised” at the high percentage of Republicans who say they don’t want to get vaccinated, stressing that it’s not a political issue, but a public health issue. “I just don’t get it, Chris, why they don't want to get vaccinated,” he added.
Wallace, for the second time in the segment, credited Trump for vaccines being widely available (in reference to Operation Warpspeed) and asked Fauci why he thinks Trump didn’t participate in the PSA promoting the vaccine. Fauci, delicately, said this was “puzzling” to him.
“I wish he would,” Fauci stated. “He has such an incredible influence over the people of the Republican party, it would be a game-changer if he did.”
You can check out the exchange below.