Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, admitted Friday that weighing COVID-19 pandemic restrictions against personal liberties is something he finds "very frustrating."
Fauci's admission came one day after Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) confronted the infectious disease doctor about when the Biden administration would recommend lifting pandemic-related restrictions so that "Americans get their freedom back."
What did Fauci say?
While speaking with MSNBC host Joy Reid, Fauci suggested that personal freedoms should take a backseat to public health measures.
Reid asked Fauci, "Does it shock you, frustrate you, how do you feel when you are peppered with questions about, you know, restrictions and freedoms — and the dead, the 560,000 dead are not mentioned?"
Fauci told Reid that he finds it "very frustrating."
"Well, it's very frustrating, because, you know, as a public health official, I'm very much aware of this issue of COVID-19 fatigue, about people really being worn down and tired of the kinds of restrictions that we have when we do public health guidelines," Fauci said.
However, Fauci admitted that he, at least, empathizes with Jordan and also wants to return to normal life, but emphasized that he places a "higher priority" on public health measures.
Congressman Jordan mentioned the people of Ohio. I care very much for the people of Ohio. I don't want to see them get sick or die, because we have 560,000 Americans that have died so far. So, we're looking at it from different perspectives. I'm looking at it from a public health perspective, and he was talking about the infringement upon liberties. Right now, what we need to do is get this pandemic behind us. And we will do that, and it will not be an indefinite period of time.
The thing that we have so much in our favor is that we now have 80 million Americans fully vaccinated and 127 million have had at least one dose. Each day, we get 3 to 4 million people vaccinated, additionally, each day that goes by. So, what we need to do is just hang on there a bit longer until we get the majority, the overwhelming majority, of people vaccinated. And you will see the level of infection continue to come down. And when it does, then you'll see a relaxation of the kind of restrictions that people would like to get rid of because they want to get their lives back. I certainly want to get my life back. But I also put, as a higher priority, the health and the safety and the lives of the American public.
When Jordan grilled Fauci for specific metrics regarding what must happen before Americans receive their freedoms back, Fauci refused to provide details.
"You know, you're indicating liberty and freedom ... but I look at it as a public health measure to keep people from dying and going to the hospital," Fauci told Jordan.