Fauci sidelined by White House despite COVID-19 surge

A man visits the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., the United States, July 11, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua/Liu Jie)

Despite his leading role in the U.S. fight against COVID-19, top infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci has been sidelined by the White House, the Washington Post reported on Sunday.

Citing a senior White House official who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the Post reported that Fauci "no longer briefs (U.S. President) Trump and is never in the Oval (Office) anymore."

According to the report, Fauci had not spoken to Trump since "the first week of June."

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, prepares to testify before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on COVID-19: Update on Progress Toward Safely Getting Back to Work and Back to School in Washington, D.C., the United States, on June 30, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)

Since COVID-19 broke out in the United States, the Trump administration and especially the president himself have had strained relations with the scientist over the country's coronavirus policy.

In recent days, with coronavirus infections and death surging in most U.S. states, Fauci, whose TV appearances were reportedly "scuttled" by the White House, had spoken more critical of the country's response to the epidemic.

In a live stream event on Tuesday, Fauci warned against a "false narrative" of a falling COVID-19-related death rate even as Trump continued to tout alleged progress the United States had made in tackling the COVID-19 outbreak by citing a falling U.S. mortality rate.

In another interview with the Hill on Thursday, Fauci said that U.S. states hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic should not be moving forward with reopening, another public rebuke of Trump, who had repeatedly downplayed the worsening COVID-19 outbreak in the country and encouraged states to quickly reopen their economies.