Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious-disease expert, has expressed concern over what he called an “anti-science bias” in the country.
“One of the problems we face in the United States is that unfortunately, there is a combination of an anti-science bias that people are – for reasons that sometimes are, you know, inconceivable and not understandable – they just don’t believe science and they don’t believe authority,” Fauci said on a US Department of Health and Human Services’ podcast, Learning Curve.
Fauci, who is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, also stood by the measures he’d recommended for limiting the coronavirus‘ spread including stay-at-home orders, which he said helped save millions of lives.
As the country reopens, Fauci has warned of a reemergence of cases and the need for testing and contact tracing to prevent more infections and deaths. He’s advised people to avoid crowded areas and wear masks in public to avoid further spreading the virus.
On the podcast, he said the reasoning for choosing to willfully ignore science despite obvious risks to health was “inconceivable”. He discussed the topic after being asked why some people might not believe his recommendations.
“When they see someone up in the White House, which has an air of authority to it, who’s talking about science, that there are some people who just don’t believe that – and that’s unfortunate because, you know, science is truth,” Fauci said.
Fauci appeared to be talking about himself there, but his mention of the White House was striking given that the face of the executive branch, President Donald Trump, has made multiple decisions that contradict the advice of health experts.
He is scheduled to host a rally on Saturday in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that some fear could become a so-called super-spreading event for the virus. Attendees will not be required to wear masks, and socially distancing is virtually impossible in an indoor arena.
The president has also refused to wear masks while in public and has suggested they give off an appearance of weakness, despite evidence that they can reduce the risk of transmission.
He’s also pushed for the use of the drug hydroxychloroquine and has even said he personally began taking it even when there was little evidence to suggest it worked at preventing or treating the coronavirus.
Its emergency-use authorization to be used on COVID-19 patients in hospital settings was recently rescinded by the Federal Food and Drug Administration.
Fauci said science was the “attempt, in good faith, to get to the facts,” and said it was a “self-correcting” process.
He drew parallels between people who refuse to abide by evidence-based health advice during this pandemic and those who deny the benefits of vaccines despite research proving they’re safe and effective.
“If you go by the evidence and by the data, you’re speaking the truth and it’s amazing sometimes, the denial there is,” Fauci said.
“It’s the same thing that gets people who are anti-vaxxers – who don’t want people to get vaccinated, even though the data clearly indicate the safety of vaccines. That’s really a problem.”
This article was originally published by Business Insider.
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