Dr. Anthony Fauci and President Donald Trump.
  • President Donald Trump has called the top US infectious-disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, "a little bit of an alarmist" in his response to the US coronavirus outbreak.
  • Fauci, who serves on the White House coronavirus task force, has described the coronavirus pandemic as his "worst nightmare."
  • In an interview that aired Sunday, Trump said Fauci had "made some mistakes" during the pandemic.
  • Trump also doubled down on misleading claims about the virus, saying he believed the US's surging case count was due solely to increased testing.
  • For more stories, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

President Donald Trump has called the infectious-disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci "a little bit of an alarmist" over his stark assessments of the US coronavirus outbreak.

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who also serves on the White House coronavirus task force, has said the coronavirus pandemic has turned into his "worst nightmare."

Trump pushed back such an evaluation during an interview that aired Sunday on "Fox News Sunday."

The interviewer, Fox News' Chris Wallace, asked Trump about White House officials' recent efforts to diminish Fauci's credibility as an expert. Specifically, he mentioned that Dan Scavino, one of the president's top aides, shared a cartoon mocking Fauci and depicting him as a faucet who was "leaking" information to journalists and drowning the US economy.

Trump seemingly agreed with the message of the illustration, telling Wallace "I don't know that he's a leaker" but adding that Fauci was "a little bit of an alarmist." The president reiterated the health expert has "made some mistakes," including his initial recommendation that people should not wear masks at the beginning of the pandemic.

Fauci is now an avid mask-wearer and urges Americans to wear face coverings as well. He has said the reasoning behind his previous suggestion was to prevent panic-buying of N-95 respirators and surgical masks used by medical professionals.

Hospital workers treating coronavirus patients reported in April that they were facing mask shortages, with some reusing their masks as they treated hundreds of patients a day.

Health and Human Services Department documents obtained by NBC News last week said hospitals were likely to fall back into a similar situation of shortages in personal protective equipment with cases on the rise in the US.

During the "Fox News Sunday" interview, the president again made the debunked claim that surges in new coronavirus cases were due solely or mainly to the increased testing in the country.

"Cases are up because we have the best testing in the world," Trump said. "No country has ever done what we have done in terms of testing. We are the envy of the world."

He added that "many of those cases shouldn't even be cases," as "many of those cases are young people that would heal in a day."

"They have the sniffles, and we put it down as a test," Trump continued. "And in many cases, they are going to get better very quickly."

While the median age for confirmed cases has dropped in the US as young people start to make up a greater percentage of known infections, those cases still have the potential to become severe and spread further.

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