US coronavirus tsar Dr Anthony Fauci has claimed his former boss Donald Trump was lucky to survive his infection with COVID-19 last year.
Fauci, who was kept on as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases by new President Joe Biden, said 74-year-old Trump's age and weight put him at increased risk from the deadly virus.
"He could have gotten into serious trouble. I think he was quite fortunate," Fauci told the UK's Daily Telegraph.
Trump's height of 6' 3" (1.91m) — towering over Fauci's 5' 7" (1.7 m) — and reported weight of 244 lb (111 kg) puts his Body mass Index at just over 30 — in the "obese" range.
He and his wife Melania were admitted to the Walter Reed Medical Centre near Chevy Chase, Maryland, on Friday October 3 2020 after they both tested positive for the the virus. They were discharged on Sunday October 5, apparently in good health.
The fastidious Fauci, who notably declared in April last year "I don’t think we should ever shake hands ever again" after the pandemic, alleged at the time that a White House reception trump threw a week before his hospital to unveil Amy Coney Barrett as his Supreme Court nomination was a "superspreader event".
The 80-year-old health chief praised his new boss, recalling comments Biden — a lanky 5’ 11½” at 78 years old — made to him after his inauguration last month.
"We’re going to let science rule. We’re going to go by the data, the evidence and the science. We’re going to make some mistakes, and when we do we’re not going to blame anybody. We’re just going to fix it", Fauci quoted the new president as saying. "That was to me like, 'Oh my goodness!'.”
But that account is undermined by Trump released a video from inside the hospital during his stay, before giving a public speech on the White House balcony just after his release.