Washington, July 13 Despite his leading role in the US' fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, America's top infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci has been sidelined by the White House, according to a media report.
Citing a senior White House official, The Washington Post report said on Sunday that Fauci "no longer briefs (President Donald) Trump and is never in the Oval (Office) anymore", Xinhua news agency reported.
According to The Washington Post report, Fauci has not spoken to Trump since "the first week of June".
Since the pandemic hit the US, the Trump administration and especially the President himself have had strained relations with the scientist over the country's coronavirus policy, it said.
In recent days, with coronavirus infections and death surging in most US states, Fauci, whose TV appearances were reportedly "scuttled" by the White House, has been more critical of the country's response to the pandemic.
In a live stream event on July 7, Fauci warned against a "false narrative" of a falling COVID-19-related death rate even as Trump continued to tout alleged progress the US had made in tackling the COVID-19 outbreak by citing a falling U.S. mortality rate.
In another interview with The Hill news website on July 9, Fauci said that hard-hit US states should pause moving forward with reopening their economies.
"I would think we need to get the states pausing in their opening process, looking at what did not work well and try to mitigate that," he said.
However, Fauci stopped short of calling for full lockdowns.
The same day in a podcast, he said that US partisanship has made the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic harder, while acknowledging the country has performed poorly in the battle against the health crisis.
"You have to be having blindfolds on and covering your ears to think that we don't live in a very divisive society now.
"You'd have to make the assumption that if there wasn't such divisiveness, that we would have a more coordinated approach," Fauci added.
The development comes as the US currently accounted for the world's highest number of COVID-19 infections and fatalities at 3,302,665 and 135,176, respectively.
( With inputs from IANS )