Fauci urges Trump to tell supporters to be vaccinated

The nation's top infectious disease expert warned Sunday that a new wave of COVID-19 infections could be on the way while urging former President TrumpDonald TrumpRealClearPolitics reporter says Freedom Caucus shows how much GOP changed under Trump Jake Ellzey defeats Trump-backed candidate in Texas House runoff DOJ declines to back Mo Brooks's defense against Swalwell's Capitol riot lawsuit MORE to tell his supporters to be vaccinated.

Speaking with Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceAnything-but-bipartisan 1/6 commission will seal Pelosi's retirement. Here's why Biden walks fine line with Fox News Aides who clashed with Giuliani intentionally gave him wrong time for Trump debate prep: book MORE on "Fox News Sunday," Anthony FauciAnthony FauciHillicon Valley: Facebook tightens teen protections | FBI cautions against banning ransomware payments | Republicans probe White House-social media collaboration CDC: Vaccinated people should now wear masks in high transmission areas Want to improve vaccine rates? Ask for this endorsement MORE pointed to surges across the European Union and warned that Europe's case trends tend to be a few weeks ahead of similar trends in the U.S.

Europe "always seem to be a few weeks ahead of us," Fauci said, adding that it was "absolutely no time to declare victory" over the virus.

"They thought they were home free, and they weren’t, and now they are seeing cases going up," he said of European health officials.

Asked by Wallace what could be done to combat vaccine skepticism in the U.S., particularly among Republicans, Fauci urged Trump to tell his supporters to get vaccinated.

"It would be very helpful for the effort for that to happen. I’m very surprised by the number of Republicans who say they won’t get vaccinated," he said.

"I think it would make all the difference in the world" if Trump were to express support for vaccines, Fauci said. "He’s a widely popular person among Republicans."

"I just don’t get it, Chris, why they don’t want to get vaccinated," he added.

During a separate appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press," Fauci said it's "disturbing" that Trump voters are choosing to not get vaccinated.

"We've got to dissociate political persuasion from commonsense, no-brainer public health things," he said.

"[Vaccines have] rescued us from smallpox, from polio, from measles," he added. "What is the problem here?"

His remarks come just days after a PBS poll found that nearly half of all Republican-aligned men said they would not get the COVID-19 vaccine, a result that has vexed health officials around the country seeking to drive down case rates.

More than 101 million doses of the vaccine have been administered in the U.S. so far, and in a national address last week, President BidenJoe BidenRealClearPolitics reporter says Freedom Caucus shows how much GOP changed under Trump Iowa governor suggests immigrants partially to blame for rising COVID-19 cases Biden officials pledge to confront cybersecurity challenges head-on MORE pledged that all American adults would be eligible to receive the vaccine by May 1.

Updated at 10:26 a.m.