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Zuckerberg says he's disappointed in Trump administration's handling of pandemic

Posted at 10:26 PM, Jul 16, 2020

In a Facebook Live interview Thursday with company founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Dr. Anthony Fauci reiterated that America is making costly mistakes in fighting the novel coronavirus.

Fauci, the White House's top expert on infectious diseases, blamed some states — without naming them specifically — for "skipping steps" and reopening too quickly.

"You've got to do it correctly. You can't jump over steps, which is very perilous when you think about rebound," Fauci said. "The proof in the pudding is: Look what's happened. There really is no reason why we're having 40-, 50-, 60,000 (new cases per day) other than the fact that we're not doing something correctly."

Fauci urged Americans not to look at social distancing restrictions in opposition to a return to economic normalcy, but as a means to rebounding.

"We should be looking at public health issues as a gateway to getting the economy back," Fauci said.

Zuckerberg agreed with Fauci — and even took a dig at the Trump administration.

"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 until recently parts of the administration were calling into question whether people should even follow basic best practices like wearing a mask.," Zuckerberg said.

Fauci's hour-long conversation with Zuckerberg comes days after the White House's top trade expert Peter Navarro published an op-ed in USA Today in an attempt to discredit Fauci. President Donald Trump later said that Navarro "shouldn't be doing that," and USA Today has said the piece did not meet the paper's fact-checking standards.

On Wednesday, in an interview with The Atlantic, Fauci called the episode "bizarre," and urged other White House staffers to end political infighting regarding the pandemic.

Once a staple on television — both news interviews and in the White House's daily coronavirus task force briefings — Fauci has been notably absent from the airwaves in recent weeks. When asked by The Atlantic if the administration was curtailing his TV appearances, Fauci said he couldn't comment, but added that "I think you know what the answer to that is."

Trump maintains that he and Fauci have a "very good relationship."