Dr. Anthony Fauci is firing back at people who continue to deny the threat of COVID-19.
The head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease spoke to USA TODAY during an editorial board meeting this week.
Fauci took particular issue with those who downplay the seriousness of the novel virus.
"You have (over 250,000 COVID-19) deaths, 11 million infections and 70,000 people in the hospital. Flu doesn't even come close," Fauci said.
"When you ask me about frustration, which borders on pain, it’s that either people don't want to look at the data or they look at the data and they say it's fake. No, it isn't fake. … This is a global issue.”
He went on to address the "mind-boggling" divisiveness over the pandemic.
“Enough is enough with this political divisiveness,” Fauci stated. “Get rid of these ridiculous conspiracy theories and realize this is a public health crisis.”
The frustrations come amid the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases nationwide.
“Either people don’t want to look at the data, or they look at the data and say it’s fake. No, it isn’t fake," he added.
Fauci also spoke on vaccine safety and trust in public health agencies.
Fauci stated that the Food and Drug Administration "may have had an unintended consequence of creating a layer of doubt about the ultimate decision and recommendation that a vaccine is safe and effective.”
The discussion comes as pharmaceutical giant Pfizer reveals that a vaccine may be available to the public in the upcoming months.
Dr. Fauci has also said that he has not had contact with President-elect Joe Biden, but is hoping for smooth transition in 2021.
“You don’t have the person running stop and then have the next person start from a stop," Fauci said of the upcoming transition. "You’re all running together.”