Anthony S. Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said there is “no doubt” Donald J. Trump will be confronted with a surprise infectious disease outbreak during his presidency.
Fauci has led the NIAID for more than 3 decades, advising the past five United States presidents on global health threats from the early days of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s through to the current Zika virus outbreak.
During a forum on pandemic preparedness at Georgetown University, Fauci said the Trump administration will not only be challenged by ongoing global health threats such as influenza and HIV, but also a surprise disease outbreak.
“The history of the last 32 years that I have been the director of the NIAID will tell the next administration that there is no doubt they will be faced with the challenges their predecessors were faced with,” he said.
While observers have speculated since his election about how Trump will respond to such challenges, Fauci and other health experts said Tuesday that preventing disease pandemics often starts overseas and that a proper response means collaboration between not only the U.S. and other countries, but also the public and private health sectors.
“We will definitely get surprised in the next few years,” he said.
‘Risks have never been higher’
Trump, the real estate developer-turned-Republican politician, has worried some infectious disease experts with controversial and sometimes unclear views on certain health issues.
Ronald Klain, who coordinated the U.S.’s Ebola response for the Obama administration, said Trump’s virtual silence about the Zika outbreak and harsh comments about American volunteers infected during the West African Ebola outbreak is “not the kind of leadership we need in our next president.”