Top US infectious-disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci contradicted President Trump's repeated claims that the country is "rounding the corner" in the coronavirus pandemic.
During a pre-recorded interview with the BBC that was broadcast on Sunday, Fauci said that an unprecedented surge in COVID-19 infections shows the country is "actually going in the wrong direction."
Trump has been been making the assertion on numerous occasions, recently mentioning it during the second presidential debate on Thursday, when he said: "We're rounding the corner. It's going away."
Fauci has criticized the president's use of the phrase in the interview. When the BBC's Andrew Marr asked whether Trump's statement was correct, he flatly said "no, it's not."
"If you just look at the numbers, I mean you can have opinions about what's going on but the data speak for themselves."
"Yesterday [Thursday] we had over 70,000 cases. Additional cases in a day. And we had... a thousand deaths. That is an indication that you're actually going in the wrong direction," Fauci added.
Watch the moment in the interview below.
—BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) October 25, 2020
Since Fauci spoke, the situation got even worse. Friday and Saturday marked the worst two days of infections in the country since the start of the pandemic.
The US recorded 83,757 new COVID-19 infections on Friday and then 83,757 on Saturday, according to data from John Hopkins University.
The figures surpass the previous high of around 77,300 recorded on July 16.
Death rates remain low, although experts worry this could change soon.
In the same interview, Fauci implicitly criticized Trump, saying that it was "very important" for politicians to set an example and "follow the science."
"It's very important. People look at what their leaders say and do, and you can positively or negatively influence behavior," he said, according to the BBC.
"One of the things I'm concerned about in the United States is that part of the anti-science translates maybe into anti-vaccine," he continued.
"It would really be a shame if we have a safe and effective vaccine, but a substantial proportion of the people do not want to take the vaccine because they don't trust authority."
The infectious-disease expert also reiterated that he believes a vaccine would become available in Spring 2021, something he mentioned in other interviews this week.
"What I do foresee is that with a successful vaccine, and the continuation of some form of public health measures, as we go and progress through the months of 2021, getting towards the third and fourth quarter, we will see a considerable approach towards some form of normality," he said.