In breaking with his administration's top expert on infectious disease, President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he believes that the U.S. is "in a good place" in the COVID-19 pandemic, according to CBS News and CNN.
Trump reportedly made the comments in an interview with Greta Van Susteren, the chief political analyst for Gray Television.
"We've done a good job," Trump said. "I think we are going to be in two, three, four weeks, by the time we next speak, I think we're going to be in very good shape."
Trump's comments came a week after Fauci, while testifying at a Senate hearing, called the current trend of rising cases "disturbing" and said he was concerned that some states were "skipping steps" on the process to reopening. In that same hearing, Fauci warned that confirmed cases of COVID-19 could rise to as many as 100,000 a day if current trends continued.
"Well, I think we are in a good place. I disagree with him," Trump said. "Dr. Fauci said don't wear masks and now he says wear them. And he said numerous things. Don't close off China. Don't ban China. I did it anyway. I didn't listen to my experts and I banned China. We would have been in much worse shape."
On Tuesday — the same day Trump delivered those comments — 60,000 new cases of the coronavirus, a new daily record, were reported across the country, according to a Johns Hopkins database. Also on Tuesday, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington reported that hospital resource use throughout the U.S. was on the rise.
Fauci and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) did initially advise against the use of masks when cases began to rise in the U.S. At the time, health officials were concerned that asking the general public to wear masks would decimate an already-depleted stockpile of personal protective equipment. But since early April, health officials have universally advocated for the use of masks for most in situations where social distancing could be difficult.
"We have to admit it, that that mixed message in the beginning, even though it was well-meant to allow masks to be available for health workers, that was detrimental in getting the message across," Fauci said in an interview with NPR earlier this month. "No doubt about it."
Trump's full interview with Van Susteren will air on Sunday.