A pandemic may intensify the divisiveness that already exists in the country, but scientists need to stay firm with facts, even when people push back, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Friday.
“We need to stick with the science and let everything we do, vis-a-vis recommendations, vis-à-vis recommendations, vis-à-vis guidelines, to be guided by the evidence and by the facts,” said Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
“And often the evidence and the facts are not readily acceptable by some people who push back against it. You just have to stick by your guns,” Fauci said during a Center for Strategic and International Studies online event. “Don’t get involved in any ideology. We are not politicians. We are public health officials.”
Fauci said throughout history, situations like the Covid-19 pandemic put a stress on society that can create a “supercharged atmosphere.” People have become confused and some fail to understand how the economy and public health are intertwined.
“They perceive public health measures almost as the enemy of economic recovery and getting back to normal,” Fauci said. Instead, people should realize that public health measures will help the economy recover. “We should utilize those tools to help us rather than to interpret that these are obstacles,” he said.
Fauci said it is the duty of public health officials to help people understand their responsibility to society and to help change minds people’s minds if they refuse to wear masks or stay out of crowded bars.
“We’ve got to make sure people really understand the responsibility that they have to help out to get out of this predicament we’re in, as opposed to intensify it,” Fauci said.