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In accordance with Fauci, the US has an "unbiased spirit" however now could be the time to "do as you could have been instructed".

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Whitehouse's coronavirus advisor, Dr. Anthony Fauci, believes that Americans have independent spirits, but that there are times when it is in our best interests to obey the rules.

Speaking to other leading health experts about the pandemic at Washington National Cathedral on Thursday, Fauci noted that it is somewhat unfair to compare the U.S.'s coronavirus response to other countries. The United States is not an island with five million people that can be easily closed, he notes. Suppressing and controlling the virus is therefore much more of a challenge.

"I have spoken to my British colleagues who say Britain is similar to now because each of our countries has this independent spirit," he said on stage. "I can understand, but now is the time to do what you were told."

Fauci noted that during this pandemic, scientists were perceived as "authoritarian" by members of the public because of the measures taken to combat the virus. He noted that it is unfortunate that science "got drawn into politics".

In a "divisive" society, the willingness of people to follow the advice of scientists has often been portrayed as a political decision. Polls show that Democrats are more likely than Republicans to view Covid-19 as a major public health threat.

"All of a sudden, science is falling into much of that split," he said.

But when the majority of Americans started following the guidelines, Fauci showed confidence that we don't need to close the country. Instead, the virus could be brought under control if people wore masks, were socially distant and washed their hands.

In his view, herd immunity is not a viable strategy.

"It sounds simple in the context of this threatening outbreak, but we can actually reverse it," he said.

Fauci spoke next to Dr. Luciana Borio, member of the Coronavirus Task Force of President-elect Joe Biden and Director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Francis Collins.

More than 10 million people in the United States have contracted the virus and 242,000 have died. There have been more than 1,000 deaths a day for weeks and the discussion comes as many health professionals are increasingly concerned about the winter months.

But the country heard some positive news this week when Pfizer announced that its vaccine was more than 90 percent effective.

Fauci seemed more optimistic about the vaccine news than he had been in the past. He hoped that at the end of the tunnel, people could see a light and be ready to take the pandemic more seriously.

"When people know that help is on the way … I hope we can overcome Covid fatigue," he said.

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Katherine Clark