It's not just Dr. Deborah Birx who believes the nation has moved into a frightening "new phase" of the COVID-19 pandemic, even if that view is unpopular with President Trump. Dr. Anthony Fauci, her colleague on the White House coronavirus task force, sees things pretty much the same way. Community spread, no longer limited to hot spots, is the problem, the Washington Post reports. "Nursing home outbreaks, meatpacking plant outbreaks, prison outbreaks—it's unfortunate that they occur but you know exactly what you’re dealing with, and you can go in there and try and suppress the infection and contain it," Fauci said Monday. "Whereas when you have community spread, it's insidious." He made the comments at an appearance with Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont.
Other Republicans had endorsed Trump's criticism earlier in the day, per the New York Times. "Dr. Birx, like Dr. Fauci, has been wrong much more than she has been right on COVID-19, & their destructive prescriptions have led to the devastation of countless American lives," Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona tweeted. At a White House news conference late in the day, Trump's words about Birx were less harsh as he defended his administration's handling of the pandemic response. "She's a person I have a lot of respect for," the president said. Trump's apparent Democratic opponent in November, former Vice President Joe Biden, also responded to Trump. "It’s hard to believe this has to be said," Biden tweeted, "but if I’m elected president, I'll spend my Monday mornings working with our nation’s top experts to control this virus—not insulting them on Twitter." (Read more Anthony Fauci stories.)