Prior to his recent absence from the airwaves, Fauci was regularly appearing on national news programs to update the American people on the country’s fight against the coronavirus.
Fauci was present at Trump’s “Operation Warp Speed” briefing last Friday, when the administration detailed a plan to roll out an eventual vaccine. He was wearing a mask and standing behind the President. But he didn’t make any comments, unlike at other briefings and events where he was front and center.
Instead, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, who oversees the NIH, has taken the lead to discuss a potential vaccine, appearing Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” and CBS News’ “Face the Nation.”
Spokespeople for NIH, NIAID and the White House, which had coordinated interviews for the coronavirus task force, did not offer comment when asked Wednesday why Fauci suddenly stopped granting interviews.
Fauci did, however, offer comment to the Washington Post for a story that was published Wednesday after CNN had asked the White House and NIH about his absence.
President Trump, who previously held freewheeling news conferences, has stopped doing so on a daily basis following an effort among aides and allies who believed the briefings damaged him politically.
And in recent weeks, the White House has refocused its message on reopening the country amid the economic havoc wreaked by the virus.
While the President and White House have pushed for the reopening of the economy, some experts have cautioned it could be too soon.