The country had recorded more than 28 million COVID-19 cases and 500,054 fatalities as of Monday afternoon, according to a Reuters tally of public health data. In an interview with Reuters, Fauci on Monday said the pandemic arrived in the United States as the country was riven by political divisions in which wearing a mask became a political statement rather than a public health measure.
"Even under the best of circumstances, this would have been a very serious problem," Fauci said, noting that despite strong adherence to public health measures, countries such as Germany and the UK struggled with the virus.
"However, that does not explain how a rich and sophisticated country can have the most percentage of deaths and be the hardest-hit country in the world," said Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a top adviser to President Joe Biden. "That, I believe, should not have happened."
While the United States has just about 4% of the global population, it has recorded nearly 20% of all COVID-19 deaths.