Dr. Anthony Fauci

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies before a House Committee on Energy and Commerce last week. — Kevin Dietsch/Pool via AP

Top U.S. COVID-19 adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci blames the country’s pandemic response on American “anti-science bias.”

This bias is “inconceivable,” because “science is truth,” said Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, while criticizing those discounting the importance of masks and social distancing.

Fauci is right that many Americans have an “anti-science bias” in their response to the coronavirus. The bias is similar to the one against climate change. But just as with the climate change debate, skepticism is also exploited by politicians.

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President Donald Trump and many Republican state leaders continue to send signals through their words and actions that the coronavirus is no longer a serious threat and that Americans can return to business as usual including not wearing a mask in public or practicing social distancing.

As states and cities gradually reopen it is important to remember that the coronavirus is continuing to kill Americans in significant numbers.

The number of new coronavirus cases per day in the U.S. is hovering close to the peak reached in late April during some of the deadliest days of the crisis.

Experts say expanded testing probably accounts for some of the increase. But other measures indicate the virus is making a comeback. Daily deaths, hospitalizations and the percentage of tests that are coming back positive for the virus have also been rising over the past few weeks in parts of the country.

Texas has pursued one of the most aggressive reopening schedules in the nation. But disturbing new signs have forced Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to backtrack. Abbott announced last Thursday that he will pause any further reopening of Texas, which is seeing a surge of COVID-19 cases.

The U.S. government’s top public health leaders last week disputed assertions by Trump that the coronavirus pandemic is under control and the U.S. is excelling in testing for the virus.

Trump has said the pandemic is “fading,” but it is actually surging in many states, experts said, and the need to expand testing is “critical.”

Fauci and other public health authorities have made it clear that the rise in cases recently is not just from increased testing, as Trump and Vice President Mike Pence repeatedly suggest, but also from states relaxing their precautions.

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