Fauci said he thinks it's 'inconceivable' that he's received death threats 'when you are trying to promote public health principles to save people's lives'

  • Top US health infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said it seems "inconceivable" that he is receiving death threats as a result of the "political tone" of the virus.
  • Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, serves on the White House coronavirus task force.
  • Fauci's remarks and recommendations have at times been at odds with the president, who has been accused of politicizing the coronavirus pandemic.
  • "I just think it's a reflection of the divisiveness in the country. It has taken on a political tone, like nothing I have ever seen," Fauci said.
  • He recalled the criticism he received when he was working on the response to the AIDS epidemic, saying he came in contact with "people who are upset that I was putting effort on HIV/AIDS — a lot of that was people who are homophobic — and felt I was diverting resources to people who they didn't think should be part of society."
  • "But that was never anything that was serious the way it is now, where people get angry enough that they threaten my life and terribly harass my wife and my children with phone calls," he said.
  • "It seems inconceivable if you just think about it … that when you are trying to promote public health principles to save people's lives and keep them healthy, that there is such divisiveness in the country, that that's interpreted to be so far from your own way of thinking that you actually want to threaten the person," Fauci continued.
  • The federal government has provided Fauci and his family with personal security in response to the threats, he said.
  • The infectious disease expert said he hopes "we get past this divisiveness in our country." He said, despite people having "different thoughts and different ideologies," he hopes that "we get it out of the realm of such intense divisiveness that you start doing things like threatening people."
  • "That's just no way that our society can really function well and go along that way," he continued. "We've got to get past that."
  • Fauci made his remarks during an exclusive conversation with National Geographic as part of their event, "Stopping Pandemics," which is set to air on Thursday.
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