DR Anthony Fauci has been slammed after he said he appreciates the "independent spirit" of Americans, but now it's time to follow orders on Covid.
The coronavirus expert said, while speaking at Washington National Cathedral on Thursday, that sticking to instructions is the only way to curb the figures.
"I was talking with my UK colleagues who are saying the UK is similar to where we are now, because each of our countries have that independent spirit," Fauci said.
"I can understand that, but now is the time to do what you're told."
However, Fauci denied that scientists are "authoritarian" and shared his distaste for the field becoming "lumped into politics."
"All of a sudden science gets caught in a lot of this divisiveness," he said.
Following his comments, hundreds of Americans took to social media to slam the doctor and his decisions.
"Hell no," one Twitter user wrote in reaction to being asked to "do what you're told."
Others said Fauci has "no credibility whatsoever," while some used expletives to express their anger at his comments.
One user suggested that "you'd think Fauci would know better" than to make such remarks, while another said "this should frighten everyone."
Fauci has served six administrations and came to prominence fighting the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s under President Ronald Reagan.
The doctor was a key element of the Coronavirus Task Force that was formed by the Trump administration.
In the United States, over 10.4million Americans have been diagnosed with Covid. Cases are currently soaring above the seven-day rolling average.
The country has witnessed at least 242,000 deaths from the deadly bug.
Despite the high infection rate, Fauci clashed with Joe Biden’s incoming Covid chief over locking down the US as daily infections hit a record high.
Speaking on Good Morning America on Thursday, Fauci pushed back on another lockdown.
He said it will not be necessary if Americans continued to wear masks, wash their hands, and socially distance.
"We would like to stay away from that because there's no appetite for locking down the American public," Fauci said.
"You don't necessarily have to shut everything down. The best opposite strategy to locking down is to intensify the public health measures.
"If you can do that well, you don't have to take that step [lockdown] … which has so many implications both psychologically and economically."
The disease expert said "help is really on the way" after news of a vaccine emerged, saying "the cavalry is coming."
On Monday, Pfizer Inc and German partner BioNTech SE announced that their experimental coronavirus vaccine was more than 90 percent effective – significantly higher than most experts had anticipated.
Moderna Inc, a company developing a similar vaccine with support from the White House’s Operation Warp Speed program, is expected to report results from their late-stage vaccine trial in the next week or so.
Both vaccines use messenger RNA (mRNA) technology, an entirely new rapid vaccine platform that uses synthetic genes to trigger an immune response. Older methods typically use some form of inactivated or killed virus particles.
"It was a home run for the Pfizer product, more than 90 percent – close to 95 percent – effective. I have every reason to believe that the Moderna product is going to be similar," Fauci said of the vaccine on Thursday.
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