US testing official: 'Dr. Fauci is not 100 percent right'

The U.S.'s top coronavirus testing official, Adm. Brett Giroir, said Sunday that infectious disease expert Anthony FauciAnthony FauciOvernight Defense: White House open to reforming war powers | Army base might house migrant children | Fauci scolds military on vaccine Overnight Health Care: CDC study links masks to fewer COVID-19 deaths | Relief debate stalls in Senate | Biden faces criticism over push to vaccinate teachers Watch live: White House coronavirus response team holds briefing MORE is “not 100 percent right” because he looks at the coronavirus pandemic from “a very narrow public health point of view.”

Chuck ToddCharles (Chuck) David ToddBrown vows Democrats will 'find a way' to raise minimum wage Fauci lays out timeline for vaccinating teens, children Trudeau: Canadian, US border to remain closed 'for now' MORE of NBC's “Meet the Press” asked the White House testing czar about a Washington Post report that cited an official saying Fauci has argued for parts of the country with surges to shut down without buy-in from the rest of the White House task force. 

“I respect Dr. Fauci a lot, but Dr. Fauci is not 100 percent right, and he also doesn't necessarily — he admits that — have the whole national interest in mind,” Giroir said. “He looks at it from a very narrow public health point of view.”

Giroir defended the White House task force, saying it has “complete, open, honest discussion” and meets three to four times a week. He said he feels “absolutely free saying anything” to Vice President Pence, who heads the task force.

“Believe me, if there's a public health opinion that needs to be said, that needs to be it,” he said. 

“So nobody feels like anything is held back,” he added. “We all take this as a serious crisis. It's got to be science driving the policy. And that's the way it is.”

Giroir told Todd that he doesn't "think we need to shut down" again, "at least in most places around the country," but he requested that U.S. residents "avoid bars" and "wear a mask in public." 

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has been cautioning the U.S. in recent weeks as coronavirus cases continue to rise in certain areas of the country. Last week, the public health expert called on states experiencing surges to pause their reopening processes. 

President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump announces new tranche of endorsements DeSantis, Pence tied in 2024 Republican poll Lawmakers demand changes after National Guard troops at Capitol sickened from tainted food MORE also broke with Fauci last week, saying the U.S. is in a “good place” with the pandemic, while Fauci has said the state of the coronavirus crisis in the U.S. is “really not good.”

Fauci also disputed the president's claim that 99 percent of COVID-19 cases are "harmless," saying it is "obviously not" true.