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Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights: Fauci confirms U.S. one of hardest hit countries by coronavirus


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Anthony Fauci, gay news, Washington Blade
Dr. Anthony Fauci (Washington Blade photo by Lou Chibbaro Jr.)

Dr.
Anthony Fauci on Wednesday confirmed the U.S. remains one of the countries
hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Unfortunately
for the United States we have been hit more hard than virtually any other
country on the planet,” he said during a presentation he made at the
Infectious Diseases Society of America’s virtual conference.

Fauci, who is director of the
National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases at the National
Institutes of Health, noted there have been roughly 8.1 million confirmed
coronavirus cases in the U.S. and 218,986 deaths. He also cited statistics that
indicate there are 40.5 million coronavirus cases around the world and
1,121,251 deaths from the pandemic.

Fauci said the coronavirus
pandemic is the world’s deadliest pandemic since the so-called Spanish Flu
pandemic of 1918.

“As of two days ago, the
numbers have been stunning,” said Fauci, referring to the coronavirus
pandemic.

Fauci on Wednesday had been scheduled to hold a virtual press briefing, but the Infections Diseases Society of America less than two hours before it was scheduled to take place announced it had been cancelled because of “scheduling conflicts.” Fauci on Wednesday is among those who are scheduled to participate in the U.S. Conference on HIV/AIDS’ closing plenary.

The virtual conferences are
taking place against the backdrop of widespread criticism over the White
House’s response to the pandemic.

President Trump, who
announced on Oct. 3 that he had tested positive for the coronavirus, is once
again appearing at public events without wearing a mask and practicing social
distancing. Trump on Monday, among other things, described
Fauci as a “disaster”
during a conference call with re-election
campaign staffers.

Racism is a ‘public health challenge’

Fauci has previously said it
remains unclear
whether people with HIV are more vulnerable to the
coronavirus.

Fauci on Wednesday noted the
pandemic continues to disproportionately impact Black people, Latinos and
Native Americans because of socio-economic disparities and a lack of access to
health care. Fauci has also noted people with HIV who have underlying health
conditions could be more vulnerable to the coronavirus.

The U.S. Conference on HIV/AIDS, which had been scheduled to take place in Puerto Rico, on Monday opened with an acknowledgment of the Black Lives Matter movement and transgender women who have been killed in the U.S. Paul Kawata, executive director of the National Minority AIDS Council, which organizes the conference, in a video he recorded at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool said NMAC “wanted to talk about how we believe that racism is a public health challenge.”

“We wanted to stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter,” said Kawata. “At the end of the day this meeting and our struggle must stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter because it is the only way we are going to end the AIDS epidemic.”

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Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights