Fauci blames "mixed messages" for high COVID death toll

Asked what went wrong, Fauci pointed to the “divisiveness in our country.”

“Even simple, common-sense public health measures took on a political connotation,” he said. “If you wanted to wear a mask, you were on this side. If you wanted to stay in and avoid congregate settings, you were on this side. It wasn’t a pure public health approach, it was really very much influenced by the divisiveness that we had in this country.”

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, added that “mixed messages” were coming from Washington — a reference to the contradictions between guidance that he and other public health officials were disseminating and President Donald Trump’s downplaying of the dangers of the virus.