National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases head, Dr. Anthony Fauci, remains one of the most trusted voices on President Donald Trump's virus response team.
But Fauci's factual statements on the virus that's killed over 150 thousand Americans have often put him at odds with the President, who continues to dismiss the severity of its spread in the United States and the need for a national strategy to combat it.
Fauci was asked in a congressional hearing last week why the United States has seen over four million cases while some of the hardest hit countries in Europe haven't come close to that degree.
The doctor responded:
"If you look at what happened in Europe when they shut down or locked down or went to shelter in place—however you want to describe it—they really did it to the tune of about 95+ percent of the country did that. When you actually look at what we did, even though we shut down, even though it created a great deal of difficulty, we really functionally shut down only about 50 percent in the sense of the totality of the country.
Which means, when reached our peak as they did. They came down almost to a low baseline, as you've shown very clearly. But take a look what happened to our baseline. We came up, down, and then we plateaued at about 20 thousand cases a day. So we started off with a very difficult baseline of transmission that was going on at the time that we tried to open up the country."
This incensed Donald Trump, who claimed that the numbers in the United States were only higher because the country performs more tests.
The President made the mistake of asking how Italy, France, and Spain did—and people answered.
What's more, the cumulative number of deaths in all of Europe is only about 50 thousand higher than the United States, which will likely surpass that if current trends don't face substantial intervention.
People were confounded at Trump's logic that the high number of cases is simply due to expanded testing.
The United States is expected to reach five million documented cases in the near future.