Anthony FauciAnthony FauciTrump on what would prevent 2024 bid: 'I guess a bad call from a doctor' Overnight Health Care — Presented by Indivior — CDC panel approves boosters for some, but not based on jobs Fauci: 'Worst time' for a government shutdown is in middle of pandemic MORE, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said Tuesday that two weeks have gone by since he last met with President TrumpDonald TrumpCheney says a lot of GOP lawmakers have privately encouraged her fight against Trump Republicans criticizing Afghan refugees face risks DeVos says 'principles have been overtaken by personalities' in GOP MORE to address the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking on NPR, Fauci said his last meeting with the president came when he and other health experts informed Trump about the nation's vaccine development efforts. The comments come as several states report surges in coronavirus cases, prompting fears about the country's ongoing reopening plans.
Texas, California, Florida and Arizona are among the states that have reported increases in daily coronavirus cases in the past week. Health authorities in Texas on Tuesday that the state has now registered its highest number of hospitalizations stemming from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
Asked by NPR whether the increases in case counts stemmed from states reopening too quickly, Fauci said that it's "tough to make broad statements" about the virus. But he noted that there were "clearly" some states that began reopening before hitting the benchmarks "they needed to get."
He also said that people's behavior could be responsible for an uptick in rising cases.
"States may say they’re in this particular stage, but then you might find people are not adhering to the guidelines," he said. "That’s clearly increasing the risk and likely explaining some of the upticks you’re seeing."
The U.S. has reported more than 2.1 million cases of COVID-19 and nearly 117,000 deaths caused by it, according to a Johns Hopkins University database.
The outbreak caused a wave of state leaders to institute stay-at-home orders in March in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. Since then, every U.S. state has relaxed at least some social distancing restrictions.
Vice President Pence said Tuesday that escalating fears about another wave of coronavirus infections were "overblown," arguing that "our whole-of-America approach has been a success." He also blamed the media for the heightened health concerns, claiming that the rise in COVID-19 cases stemmed from an increased testing capacity.
Fauci, a key member of the White House coronavirus task force, warned last week that the pandemic was far from over, noting that "we're still at the beginning of it."
While his meetings with Trump aren't as regular anymore, the official has said that the task force continues to do "substantial" work.
"Just because you don't see the public press conferences does not mean that there’s [not] a lot of activity going on and a lot of attention paid to what we do," he said earlier this month. "The seriousness with which the task force takes and the effort that we put into this is really substantial. Even though numerically the number of meetings might be less, the activity is still really quite intense."