The coronavirus probably spread widely across the U.S. as early as February, the model suggests

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, listened during a June 30 hearing on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions in Washington. Al Drago / Pool / Getty Images

Leading infectious disease expert in the United States, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said White House Vice President Coronavirus Task Force Mike Pence was “a very good job.”

Fauci and task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx regularly alert the pandemic at briefings or interviews, while Pence spoke about what a good job the Trump administration is doing.

“He’s trying in his role as vice president to also point out some things that are going well in a sense,” Fauci told the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday in a podcast.

“So he’s a person who is an optimistic person and does a very good job as a task force leader, I have to say.

“I look at the data, analyze the data and give my best opinion based on the evidence.”

Fauci said there are many aspects to the working group’s discussions, and he and his colleagues are mostly focused on public health. Pence, he said, has other concerns.

“There is a problem and a need to open up from an economic point of view,” Fauci said. “So it all goes into phase and then you see the kinds of recommendations that come out, but you know as a member of the Force’s mission, I’m telling you we have a serious situation that we really need to address.”

Fauci said public health and economic policies should work in tandem. Other health experts worry that President Donald Trump has pushed his economic priorities to the detriment of American lives. So far, more than 132,000 Americans have died from Covid-19.

“We shouldn’t think of it as one against the other, because once you start thinking about public health and the economy opens up, they seem to oppose the forces,” Fauci said.

“So what we’re trying to do is make the public health message, if heard and implemented, actually be an entrance that will make it easier to open and easier, and instead there are guys on this side, and those guys and ladies are on the other side.”

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