Dr. Fauci Says He Last Talked to President Trump Two Weeks Ago, About 'Vaccine Development'

As the nation's focus has apparently shifted this month from the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic to racial injustice protests after George Floyd's death in Minneapolis, the disease has also occurred less frequently between President Donald Trump and one of his top experts.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country's leading infectious disease expert and a leading medical voice during the pandemic, told Tuesday's NPR 1A program that the last time he spoke to Trump was "two weeks ago".
"Not last week, but the week before," said Fauci, 79, when asked about their last interaction. "I spoke to him when we gave the presentation to explain our vaccine development efforts, so it was two weeks ago."
In an interview with NPR, Fauci discussed the states that have moved faster to reopening their economies, as some critics have pointed out when trying to explain recent coronavirus peak rates across the country.
"I think there have certainly been countries that have not strictly followed the guidelines we have set for the reopening of America," said Fauci, adding: "There were clearly states that left their own choices and opened up to different degrees, maybe even - I wouldn't say 'too early' - but certainly before they reached the benchmarks they needed. "
According to a New York Times tracker, the novel corona virus has killed at least 117,300 people in the United States. The Times reports that at least 2.16 million confirmed cases of the virus have been reported nationwide.
Despite the discussion of a "second wave" of coronavirus this year, Fauci argued in another interview on Tuesday that the United States has not yet passed the first wave of infections.
"When I look at the TV and see pictures of people gathering in bars when the location they are in indicates that they shouldn't be doing it, it's very risky," Fauci told Wall Street Journal.
"People always talk about a second wave," he said. "We are still in a first wave."
RELATED: The US should have "a few hundred million doses" of coronavirus vaccine by early 2021: Fauci
Shutterstock Dr. Anthony Fauci on April 22nd at the White House.
Fauci told NPR that a second wave is "not inevitable" if "we do what we have to do to prevent it", however, criticized some people for not following social distance and not masking in public carried.
"Even if states officially follow the standard recommendations, you will still see people who are in a state or in a city and essentially do not adhere to the types of recommendations, especially in situations where they gather without a mask." Fauci said. "I mean, this is clearly a risky process."
He added, "This is the thing that is problematic because it clearly increases the risk and probably explains some of the improvements you see in certain of these states."
The Washington Post reported Tuesday that nine states across the country for COVID-19, coronavirus disease, "had either reported new daily highs or set a new 7-day average for new cases." These states included: Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina and Texas.
Fauci, longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said earlier this month that he was "cautiously optimistic" that one of the ongoing coronavirus vaccine trials in the US would prove successful and the country would "get a few hundred million doses." “Until early 2021.
"I am cautiously optimistic that with the many candidates that we have on different platforms, we will have a vaccine that has a level of effectiveness that makes it usable," he told CNN.
Fauci's news in the past few weeks has largely come from media interviews, like his interview on NPR's 1A program on Tuesday. The Trump administration last held a press conference on coronavirus on May 22, after weeks of daily updates, some of which were conducted for hours with extensive question-and-answer sessions.
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Drew Angerer / Getty President Donald Trump (left) watches Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks to the media on March 24 during the White House's daily coronavirus briefing.
Vice President Mike Pence said Tuesday that concerns about a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic have been "exaggerated" in a comment published in the journal.
Pence, head of the Trump administration's Corona Virus Task Force, argued in his statement that "the media has set itself the task of ringing the alarm bells" regarding a second wave of the virus.
"Such panic is exaggerated," wrote 60-year-old Pence.
When asked by NPR this week to what extent he would blame local and national leaders for the persistent spikes in the virus, Fauci avoided making certain individuals responsible for the effects of the pandemic.
"I don't want to blame people," he said. "This is not helpful. I think we really have to say, 'These are the facts.' ""
As information about the coronavirus pandemic changes rapidly, PEOPLE strives to provide the latest data in our reporting. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest information on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO and local health authorities. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser that supports everything from frontline responders to needy families to organizations that help communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

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