“It is a false story to take comfort in a lower death rate,” said Fauci during a live press conference with Democrat Senator Doug Jones of Alabama.
“There are so many other things that are very dangerous and bad about this virus, don’t be fooled. ”
Trump tweeted Monday that “the death rate for the China virus in the United States is roughly the lowest in the world,” doubling this position with a later tweet stating definitively that “we now have the death rate ( mortality) the lowest in the United States. ” World. “
No vaccination mandate planned
Fauci also said on Tuesday that he does not have a federal mandate for the coronavirus vaccine in the United States once it is available.
“I don’t think we have ever had a situation where you have mandated for the general population,” he said.
Fauci explained that he “could see individual institutions imposing a vaccine” but not at the national level “simply because of all the situations that you have infringed on the freedom of a person to make his own choice of his own health” .
Scientists around the world are rushing to develop a Covid-19 vaccine, with some senior health officials predicting that the United States may be in the process of having one by the end of the year. In preparation for this, Fauci told CNN last month that the vaccine education effort in the United States “will not be easy.”
“There is a general anti-science, anti-authority, anti-vaccine feeling among some people in this country – an alarming percentage of people, relatively speaking,” he said.
Fauci said that given the power of the anti-vaccine movement, “we have a lot of work to do” to educate people about the truth about vaccines.
“It will not be easy,” he warned. “Anyone (who) thinks it will be easy doesn’t face reality. It will be very difficult. ”
Fauci added that the government has an education program on vaccines to counter anti-vaccine messages.
“We currently have a program that is going to be very extensive to reach the community,” he noted. “They may not like someone in government in a suit like me to tell them, even if I will tell them. They really need to see people they can identify with in the community – sports figures, community heroes, people they are looking for. at. ”
However, there is no indication that such a program is in place.
“Strongly in favor” of local mask requirements
In the meantime, Fauci stressed the importance of face masks in the fight against the virus – something he said was “strongly in favor” of the mandate, but not at the federal level.
“I don’t like being authoritarian on the part of the federal government. But at the local level, if governors and others essentially mandate the use of masks in the event of an epidemic, I think that would be very important, “said Fauci.
White House officials plan to play a more active role in encouraging the masks as they adopt a strategy to prepare Americans for long-term living with the virus.
After taking part in a series of events without social distancing and where masks were rare, Trump’s campaign said on Sunday that it would organize a campaign rally in New Hampshire where participants will receive “a face mask that they are strongly encouraged to wear “.
CNN’s Tara Subramaniam contributed to this report.