Dr. Anthony Fauci, the leading public health expert on the White House coronavirus task force, admitted that he and President Donald Trump aren't meeting as often recently, even as thousands of people across the nation totally disregard the previously essential social distancing and lockdown rules that have defined the last few months.
Fauci said the task force and the president used to meet four times a week.
"But as you probably noticed, that the task force meetings have not occurred as often lately," Fauci told STAT News. " And certainly my meetings with the president have been dramatically decreased."
Data shows that the U.S. is on the downside of the "curve" of new coronavirus cases and deaths, although there are still roughly between 600 and 1,000 reported COVID-19 deaths per day (including some which are presumed, not lab-confirmed). Many states, including New York, have begun reopening businesses and easing restrictions.
In the days following the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, thousands of people in numerous major cities have taken to the streets in mass protests. Social distancing has become an afterthought, and police officers that were previously arresting citizens for social distancing violations now seem powerless to prevent businesses from being looted and destroyed.
Mainstream media coverage, previously hysterical in response to churches holding in-person services and salons and restaurants reopening, has now shifted to coverage of the nationwide riots and criticism of President Trump's aggressive rhetoric aimed at ending the lawlessness. There is relatively little focus on what impact these protest gatherings might have on the spread of COVID-19.
Still, the work toward a vaccine continues, and there are "multiple candidates" that the government is involved with, said Fauci.
"I think the president and the administration would be really very happy if we had a vaccine that we could deploy by the end of the year," Fauci said.
(H/T: The Hill)