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Fauci says aspects of government's COVID response were 'botched'


FILE - Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, holds his face mask in his hands as he attends a House Committee on Appropriations subcommittee hearing on about the budget request for the National Institutes of Health, May 11, 2022, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert who became a household name, and the subject of partisan attacks, during the COVID-19 pandemic, announced Monday he will depart the federal government in December after more than 5 decades of service. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)
FILE - Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, holds his face mask in his hands as he attends a House Committee on Appropriations subcommittee hearing on about the budget request for the National Institutes of Health, May 11, 2022, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert who became a household name, and the subject of partisan attacks, during the COVID-19 pandemic, announced Monday he will depart the federal government in December after more than 5 decades of service. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)
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Dr. Anthony Fauci agreed during an interview with the Texas Tribune Thursday that certain aspects of the federal government's response to COVID-19 were "botched."

"Certain aspects of it were botched," Fauci told Evan Smith, CEO of The Texas Tribune.

He told Smith the government's unwillingness to embrace commercial involvement in the procurement of COVID tests and unclear mitigation guidelines, such as for social distancing and mask wearing, were problematic.

"I have absolute understanding of people's frustrations, when the normal everyday intelligent person in the street looks at what's coming out may not fully appreciate that things change with regard to recommendations, because we were dealing truly with a moving target," Fauci explained. "Because what happened is that knowledge, evidence and data evolved, and as it evolves you have to be flexible enough to change, and that's what science is all about, it's a self-correcting process."

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky seemingly agrees with Fauci. During a video distributed to her agency's employees, Walensky admitted public guidance during the COVID pandemic was "confusing and overwhelming," according to The New York Times.

"To be frank, we are responsible for some pretty dramatic, pretty public mistakes, from testing to data to communications," she reportedly said.

Data from the government has even revealed that school closures during the pandemic impacted students' reading and math proficiency significantly.

"It's clear that COVID-19 shocked American education and stunted the academic growth of this age group of children," said Peggy Carr, commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics. "We don’t make this statement lightly."

Minority students faced the sharpest decline, Carr also noted.

Speaking on school closures during the interview, Fauci said they were the right move at the time, but conceded they "did have collateral consequences."

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"No one can deny that keeping children out of school has a negative impact on the children,” Fauci concluded.

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