Technology

Zuckerberg criticizes US, Trump response to COVID-19

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg criticized the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic during a livestream Thursday.

“At this point it is clear that the trajectory in the U.S. is significantly worse than many other countries, and that our government and this administration have been considerably less effective at handling this,” he said during an interview with the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Anthony Fauci, on Facebook Live.

Cases of COVID-19 have surged recently after some initial flattening of the infection curve.

Most states are seeing increases in case numbers and positive test rates, with Arizona, Florida and California setting records in recent days. More than 136,000 people in America have died of the virus to date.

The administration has largely struggled to contain the pandemic, actively pushing for businesses to reopen and sending mixed messages to Americans on public health measures as simple as wearing a mask in public. 

Zuckerberg specifically criticized the administration for seeming to discredit Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

“I was certainly sympathetic early on when it was clear that there would be some outbreaks no matter how well we handle this,” he said.

“But now that we’re here in July, I just think that it was avoidable and it’s really disappointing that we still don’t have adequate testing, that the credibility of our top scientists like yourself and the CDC are being undermined, and that until recently, that parts of the administration were calling into question whether people should even follow basic best practices like wearing masks.”

Earlier this month, White House economic adviser Peter Navarro slammed Fauci in a USA Today op-ed, saying that the doctor was “wrong about everything,” and administration officials have shared a list of “mistakes” that they say Fauci made in the beginning of the pandemic, such as early comments he made downplaying the use of masks. 

Zuckerberg suggested that the U.S. should “reset,” saying that beating the virus should be the priority.

The discussion with Fauci came after Facebook announced a new feature focused on debunking myths about the coronavirus.

The platform has also elevated information from trusted sources and limited the spread of potentially harmful posts.

Despite those efforts, misinformation about the disease has been rampant across social media, causing what the World Health Organization has branded an “infodemic.”

Technology