Fauci Speechless After US Senator Asserts Epidemiologist 'Overhyped' COVID-19 Pandemic

© REUTERS / Kevin LamarqueDr. Anthony Fauci speaks about the Omicron coronavirus variant during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., December 1, 2021.
Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks about the Omicron coronavirus variant during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., December 1, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 05.12.2021
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Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) asserted this week that Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, "overhyped" the threat of HIV/AIDS in the 1980s, and is using the same playbook in the present-day COVID-19 pandemic. Johnson's remarks were made on World AIDS Day, which mourns victims of the disease.
Dr Anthony Fauci appeared to be at a loss for words on Sunday after CNN's Jake Tapper asked the epidemiologist to respond to Sen. Johnson's targeted comment.

"How do you respond to something as preposterous as that? Overhyping AIDS? It's killed over 750,000 Americans and 36 million people worldwide. How do you overhype that?", Fauci questioned during his appearance on "State of the Union".

The epidemiologist was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2008 to honour his extensive research for the US on HIV/AIDS in the 1980s. Some argued that Fauci's guidance regarding HIV and its transmission led to further public confusion and shame, which could discourage individuals from getting regularly tested.
Fauci, who also serves as the chief medical adviser to the president, similarly questioned the Wisconsin GOP senator's assertion that the COVID-19 pandemic and the global impact of the contagious disease are blown out of proportion.
"Overhyping COVID? It's already killed 780,000 Americans and over 5 million people worldwide", the epidemiologist pointed out.
"I don't have any clue of what he's talking about", Fauci said, referring to Johnson.
© AP Photo / Greg NashSen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., speaks at the U.S. Capitol in Washington in this March 3, 2021 file photo. Wisconsin Republicans are working to discredit the bipartisan system they created to run elections in the state after President Joe Biden narrowly won last year's presidential race, making the political battleground state the latest front in the national push by the GOP to exert more control over elections.
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., speaks at the U.S. Capitol in Washington in this March 3, 2021 file photo. Wisconsin Republicans are working to discredit the bipartisan system they created to run elections in the state after President Joe Biden narrowly won last year's presidential race, making the political battleground state the latest front in the national push by the GOP to exert more control over elections. - Sputnik International, 1920, 05.12.2021
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., speaks at the U.S. Capitol in Washington in this March 3, 2021 file photo. Wisconsin Republicans are working to discredit the bipartisan system they created to run elections in the state after President Joe Biden narrowly won last year's presidential race, making the political battleground state the latest front in the national push by the GOP to exert more control over elections.
Johnson's remarks about the epidemiologist were made during a Wednesday interview with Fox News' Brian Kilmeade. While weighing in on the developing Omicron variant of COVID-19, the US senator from Wisconsin suggested that the Biden administration was attempting to "create a state of fear" in order to "maintain controls".

"He overhyped it", Johnson said of Fauci's work to demystify HIV/AIDS in the 1980s. "He created all kinds of fear, saying it could infect the entire population when it couldn't, and he's doing, he's using the exact same playbook with COVID: ignoring therapy, pushing a vaccine".

During the Sunday interview, Fauci also signalled that the US will "hopefully" be able to lift its COVID-19 travel ban on African countries as experts learn more about the contagious disease's Omicron variant.
"As we're getting more and more information about cases in our own country and worldwide we're looking at that very carefully on a daily basis", Fauci said.
The order implemented last week impacts those seeking to travel from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, and South Africa.
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