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Fauci says family has faced threats, harassment amid pandemic

Anthony FauciAnthony FauciFlorida hackers change highway sign to read 'Arrest Fauci' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - GOP torpedoes election bill; infrastructure talks hit snag White House admits July 4 vaccine marker will be missed MORE, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said he and his family are getting death threats because people don’t like what he says about COVID-19.

“Getting death threats for me and my family and harassing my daughters to the point where I have to get security is just, I mean, it’s amazing,” Fauci said during an interview with CNN’s Sanjay Gupta on Wednesday.

“I wouldn’t have imagined in my wildest dreams that people who object to things that are pure public health principles are so set against it and don’t like what you and I say, namely in the world of science, that they actually threaten you,” he added.

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He noted that crises such COVID-19 bring out the best of people and the worst of people.

Fauci’s profile has been elevated by COVID-19, as he is often on TV offering a blunt portrayal of the state of the pandemic in the U.S.

Fauci, 79, is one of the world’s most respected infectious disease experts, having advised six presidents on HIV/AIDS, Ebola, Zika and other health crises. He has earned a reputation for being blunt and willing to correct the president.

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Fauci has had a security detail since at least April.

Fauci also reflected on what he says is a degree of “anti-science” sentiment in the U.S. that is making it difficult to get people to do things to slow the spread of COVID-19 such as wearing masks.

“There is a degree of anti-science feeling in this country, and I think it is not just related to science. It's almost related to authority and a mistrust in authority that spills over,” he told Gupta.

“In some respects, scientists, because they're trying to present data, may be looked upon as being an authoritative figure, and the pushing back on authority, the pushing back on government, is the same as pushing back on science,” he added.

He said the scientific community should be more transparent and reach out to people to underscore the importance of science and evidence-based policy.

“I know when I say that if we follow these five or six principles, we can open up, we don't have to stay shut ... there are some people that just don't believe me or don't pay attention to that. And that's unfortunate because that is the way out of this,” he said.

President TrumpDonald TrumpIran claims U.S. to lift all oil sanctions but State Department says 'nothing is agreed' Ivanka Trump, Kushner distance themselves from Trump claims on election: CNN Overnight Defense: Joint Chiefs chairman clashes with GOP on critical race theory | House bill introduced to overhaul military justice system as sexual assault reform builds momentum MORE has repeatedly undermined Fauci, questioning the White House coronavirus task force member on Twitter and in interviews with the media.

Over the weekend, Trump tweeted out a video of a portion of Fauci’s testimony explaining why the U.S. has recorded more cases than European countries have and called it “wrong.” Trump has falsely claimed several times that the U.S. has more cases because it is doing more testing.

Trump has also retweeted multiple messages that question Fauci's expertise, including one last week that said he had "misled the American public."

Brett Samuels contributed to this report, which was updated at 2:22 p.m.