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Anthony Fauci with President Trump in May at the White House. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the Financial Times on Friday that he last saw President Trump in person at the White House on June 2 — and hasn't briefed the president on the coronavirus pandemic for at least two months.

Why it matters: His comments indicate that a rift may be growing between Trump and his top infection disease expert as the worst pandemic in a century surges in multiple states around the U.S.

What they're saying: "We are living in the perfect storm right now," Fauci told FT. "I have a reputation, as you probably have figured out, of speaking the truth at all times and not sugar-coating things. And that may be one of the reasons why I haven't been on television very much lately."

  • Trump publicly criticized Fauci Thursday, telling Fox News that he believes the infectious disease expert "has made a lot of mistakes."
  • However, the president did not describe any specific mistakes but called Fauci "a nice man," NBC News reports.

The big picture: In recent weeks, the Trump administration has ignored or downplayed soaring caseloads across the U.S., seemingly banking on the virus to run its course and for herd immunity to take effect, Axios' Caitlin Owens reports.

  • Fauci warned in June that the country is "unlikely" to achieve herd immunity — even if an effective vaccine is developed — because of a "a general anti-science, anti-authority, anti-vaccine feeling" within the country.

Go deeper: We're losing the war on the coronavirus

Go deeper

Updated Oct 19, 2020 - Health

Fauci says he's "absolutely not" surprised Trump got coronavirus

A screenshot of Anthony Fauci. Photo: CBS/"60 Minutes."

NIAID director Anthony Fauci told CBS' "60 Minutes" in an interview broadcast Sunday he's "absolutely not" surprised that President Trump contracted Covid-19 after seeing him on TV in a crowded place with "almost nobody wearing a mask."

The big picture: Fauci said after watching the footage, he thought: "'Oh my goodness. Nothing good can come outta that, that's gotta be a problem.' And then sure enough, it turned out to be a superspreader event." Fauci appeared to be referencing the Sept 26. Rose Garden celebration of Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

Oct 18, 2020 - Health

Jake Tapper says White House refused invitations to have COVID-19 experts appear on his show

CNN anchor Jake Tapper said on Sunday the White House declined invitations to have anyone from its coronavirus task force on his show, "State of the Union," including Anthony Fauci, Deborah Birx and CDC director Robert Redfield.

Why it matters: Coronavirus infections jumped by almost 17% in a week, and the number of new cases increased in 38 states and Washington, D.C., as of Thursday. On Friday, the U.S. reported 70,000 new cases in one day for the first time since July.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Concerns grow over CDC's isolation guidelines — Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron — WHO recommends 2 new treatments — What "mild" really means when it comes to Omicron — Deaths are climbing as cases skyrocket.
  2. Vaccines: America's vaccination drive runs out of gas— Puerto Rico expands booster shot requirements— Supreme Court blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for large employers.
  3. Politics: Vivek Murthy calls SCOTUS vaccine mandate block "a setback for public health" — Focus group says Biden weak on COVID response, strong on democracy
  4. Economy: America's labor shortage is bigger than the pandemic— — CDC COVID guidance for cruise ships to be optional starting Saturday — The cost of testing.
  5. States: West Virginia governor feeling "extremely unwell" after positive test — Youngkin ends mandates for masks in schools and COVID vaccinations for state workers — America struggles to keep schools open
  6. World: Beijing reports first local Omicron case weeks before Winter Olympics — Teachers in France stage mass walkout over COVID protocols.
  7. Variant tracker