Former second lady Dr. Jill Biden gushed over Dr. Anthony Fauci after the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases testified before Congress Tuesday, calling him an “American Hero.”
“He has become an American hero, I think, because look at how he gets on the news every night,” Biden said during a virtual organizing call with supporters in Pennsylvania. “He gives us the facts, he doesn’t sugarcoat anything.”
In late April, former Vice President Joe Biden said Fauci should be the “only person” that the U.S. public should hear from during the coronavirus pandemic, seemingly casting aside other White House task force members such as Dr. Deborah Birx.
The former second lady’s comments come after Fauci testified before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, warning lawmakers of “really serious” consequences if states lift their respective lockdowns too quickly.
“My concern is that we will start to see little spikes that will turn into outbreaks,” Fauci said. “There is a real risk that you will trigger an outbreak that you might not be able to control. Not only leading to some suffering and death, but it could even set you back on the road to get economic recovery.”
Responding to a question from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Fauci said the U.S.’s coronavirus death toll is likely higher than the official count reported by Johns Hopkins University.
“I’m not sure if it’s going to be 50 percent higher, but most of us feel that the number of deaths is likely higher than that number, because given the situation, particularly in New York City, when they were strapped with a serious challenge to their healthcare system, that there may have been people who died at home, who did have COVID who are not counted as COVID because they never really got to the hospital,” the infectious diseases expert said.
Fauci also expressed skepticism about whether Americans will be able to safely return to school in the fall, without a widely available vaccine.
“We don’t see a vaccine playing in the ability of individuals to get back to school this term,” he said.