Fauci said people blaming immigrants for the spread of COVID-19 in the US need to ‘face reality’

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Anthony Fauci

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in the White House in January 2021. Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

  • A poll found 55% of Republicans believe immigrants and tourists are a major reason for COVID spread.

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci said that’s “absolutely not” the case based on the data in the US.

  • “Certainly immigrants can get infected but they’re not the driving force of this,” Fauci said.

  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday that immigrants are not driving the spread of COVID-19 in the US, despite some Americans believing otherwise.

CNN host Dana Bash asked Fauci about a recent poll that found 55% of Republicans and 40% of unvaccinated US adults believed immigrants and tourists bringing in COVID-19 was a major reason for the latest surge.

Bash asked Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, if immigrants specifically are a major reason for COVID-19 spread in the US.

“No, absolutely not,” he said. “If you just look at the data and look at the people who have gotten infected, look at the people who are in the hospital, look at the people who’ve died. This is not driven by immigrants.”

More than 700,000 Americans have died of COVID-19 and more than 43 million cases have been reported.

Fauci said COVID-19 transmission is a problem in the US the same way it is a problem in countries throughout the world.

“The problem is within our own country,” Fauci said. “Certainly immigrants can get infected but they’re not the driving force of this. Let’s face reality here.”

Some Republican politicians have sought to blame immigrants for surges in COVID-19, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. But public health experts have said there is no evidence to back up the claim that migrants are driving surges, which occured over the summer throughout the US, but especially in communities with low vaccination rates.

COVID-19 cases are now on the downswing in much of the country, but Fauci also said Sunday it is too soon to tell what the holiday season will look like.

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