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Fauci: Differing state responses a 'major weakness' in fighting coronavirus

Fauci: Differing state responses a 'major weakness' in fighting coronavirus
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Anthony FauciAnthony FauciOvernight Health Care: Biden unveils virus plan and urges patience | Fauci says it's 'liberating' working under Biden | House to move quickly on COVID-19 relief Fauci: We are not 'starting from scratch' on vaccine distribution Fauci says it's 'liberating' working under Biden MORE, the top U.S. infectious diseases expert, said the lack of a federal standardized coronavirus response across states is a “major weakness” in the handling of the pandemic that continues to surge across the nation.

"The states are very often given a considerable amount of leeway in doing things the way they want to do it, as opposed to in response to federal mandates, which are, relatively, rarely given," Fauci said in an interview with BBC Radio 4, according to CNN.

Fauci said the virus “doesn’t know the difference between the border of New York and New Jersey, or Florida and Georgia,” and blamed what he called a lack of consistency for the toll the virus has taken on the U.S. in particular.

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"What we’ve had was a considerable disparity with states doing things differently in a nonconsistent way,” Fauci said. “There have been a lot of factors that have led to the fact that, unfortunately for us, the United States has been the hardest-hit country in the world, but I believe that disparity among how states do things has been a major weakness in our response."

The head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases also blamed political polarization in the U.S. for some of the pitfalls of the virus response.

“What we see is somewhat of a politicization, where ... things like the wearing of masks become a political statement, where ... keeping away from crowds becomes a political statement, that has made it very problematic as we’ve dealt with this unprecedented and historic outbreak," he said.

Fauci has predicted the coronavirus vaccine will likely become widely available to the general public in the spring, but he told the outlet that mitigation efforts such as social distancing and wearing masks should remain in place until it becomes widely available throughout the world.

"Until we get that veil of protection, then we are constantly going to be challenged," he said, according to CNN.