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“Helpless Means You Can’t Do Anything. There’s a Lot We Can Do.”

In an interview with DER SPIEGEL, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Donald Trump’s pandemic adviser, discusses the anger of his opponents, his relationship with the president, mistakes made in the effort to contain the spread of COVID-19 and his cautious optimism that a vaccine will be available soon.

DER SPIEGEL: Dr. Fauci, you once said of yourself that you had “a reputation of speaking the truth at all times and not sugarcoating things.” Can we hope to get a few samples of previously unspoken truths from you today?

Fauci: Of course! I will always give you truth. Just ask the question and I’ll give you the truth. At least to the extent, that I think it is, right. (laughs)

DER SPIEGEL: OK, we’ll give it a try! You advised the Trump administration in 2017 to increase its pandemic preparedness. Did you see a pandemic like this coming, a scenario like this with worldwide lockdowns, overflowing hospitals and a rather violent social disruption?

Fauci: Well, the answer is, I predicted and anticipated an outbreak of a new infectious disease, because we’ve had so many of them. During my tenure as director of this institute, which is 36 years now, I’ve seen HIV, I’ve seen pandemic flu, I’ve seen Ebola, I’ve seen Zika. I always knew that we would have the inevitable perpetual challenge of outbreaks in the future.

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