Dr. Anthony Fauci Pushes Back on Trump Ad, Explains Why Herd Immunity Declaration Is "Nonsense"

Dr. Anthony Fauci
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The top infectious disease expert reiterated that he does not "like to be associated with anything political or, certainly, any political party campaign."

Dr. Anthony Fauci, on Thursday morning, clarified his response to being included in a new Trump campaign ad and vehemently shut down a declaration from a group of scientists about herd immunity that has reportedly been embraced by the White House, according to the New York Times.

The so-called Great Barrington Declaration, which also opposes lockdowns, talks of "Focused Protection" which supports herd immunity (when a disease stops spreading because nearly the entire population has contracted it) by allowing "those at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk."

While speaking to ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said frankly of the declaration, "We just got to look that square in the eye and say, 'That's nonsense.'"

Fauci explained, "If you just let things rip and let the infection go — no masks, crowd, it doesn't make any difference — that, quite frankly George, is ridiculous. Because what that will do is that there will be so many people in the community that you can't shelter, that you can't protect, who are going to get sick and get serious consequences. So this idea that we have the power to protect the vulnerable is total nonsense because history has shown that that's not the case."

The United States is the worst-affected country amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, with more than 7.9 million diagnosed cases — including President Trump, members of his family and a growing number of his White House staff — and at least 216,903 deaths. With the virus center stage in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election, the Trump campaign recently released an ad that features Fauci praising the president’s leadership.

Fauci initially responded to the ad by saying, "The comments attributed to me without my permission in the GOP campaign ad were taken out of context. In my five decades of public service, I have never publicly endorsed political candidates." He later warned that his inclusion in a future ad could "backfire."

Speaking on Thursday, Fauci explained his warning. "What I meant by that is that it's very clear that I have stated without any equivocation that I'm an apolitical person. I don't like to be associated with anything political or, certainly, any political party campaign. And the way that I was juxtaposed in that ad, it made it look very much like I was part of a political campaign. And I'm expressing that I don't like that. And when I said it might backfire, I think if people see that they're doing things that are clearly against my will, it's going to make them look bad. That's what I meant."