Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, reflected on why the US was hit so badly by the coronavirus: mixed messaging, divisiveness and the federalist approach.
“We had a situation where instead of concentrating from the top on the science and realizing that we must make decisions based on data and based on evidence, there was a considerable amount of mixed messaging about what needed to be done from the top down,” Fauci said. “And that really cost us dearly.”
Fauci, who was speaking at a panel during the Davos World Economic Forum on Monday, added, there was “a profound degree of” divisiveness in the country and public health issues — such as mask-wearing – became political statements. “You cannot imagine how destructive that is to any unified public health message.”
Finally, Fauci spoke about the federalist approach in the US: 50 states and territories which are given a degree of flexibility to do things their own way.
While he said that under different circumstances this works well, in the pandemic, when the government didn’t want to tell the states what to do, there was a situation where he said that the states were “sort of left on their own,” meaning “we had a disparate, inconsistent response from one state to the other, which is antithetical to the fact that the virus is the same, it doesn’t know the difference between New York and Pennsylvania, between Louisiana and Mississippi, it’s all the same.”
“We needed to have a good cooperation between the federal government and the individual locals, which we did not have,” he said.