Speaking on a panel sponsored by Australia’s University of Melbourne, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr Anthony Fauci said that the United States had unfortunately lagged behind Oceanic countries in containing COVID-19 and revealed the one aspect of Australia’s response he wouldn’t dare push in the US.
In a not-entirely-inaccurate moment of honesty, Fauci bemoaned the fact that “lockdown” and “shutdown” were now loaded terms in the US, and if he recommended similar measures as Australia, he’d “be in serious trouble.”
“They’d probably throw tomatoes at me,” Fauci said on the panel, which was titled “Conversations on COVID-19: The Global View.”
“Australia is one of the countries that has done actually quite well, I believe. New Zealand has done well. Some of the Asian countries have done well ... I would like to say the same for the US, but the numbers speak for themselves. We’ve had ... 8.7 million infections — 225,000 deaths, and we are essentially still going on a day-by-day basis, getting worse and worse.”
Fauci said that Australia’s geography may have helped it clamp down on the spread of COVID-19. According to the World Health Organization, as of Wednesday, Australia has a little over 27,500 coronavirus cases, while the US faces over 8 million.
“When you have a country like Australia, which is a gigantic island, it’s probably easier to contain in and out,” Fauci said. “Whereas in the United States, that’s not the case. We have northern and southern borders and the southern border particularly is problematic as Mexico has had a real difficult problem also with COVID-19.”
Fauci speculated that the independent nature of the United States had also led to a situation where every state did what they wanted in a “free-for-all,” especially when it came to opening up the US economy.
“Although there’s many positive aspects about the independence of the difference...