Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, wishes things would have been handled “a lot differently” in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic based on what is known now.

Fauci made the comments on The Hill’s “Rising” show, where he also discussed how the U.S. should have implemented “more stringent restrictions” for those individuals who were asymptomatic at the start of the COVID crisis.

“If I knew in 2020, what I know now, we would do a lot differently because back then, we were not sure of a number of things,” Fauci said during the interview.

He maintained that what is known now about the virus, a full two and half years later, would have created a greater sense of urgency and a harder focus on safety measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

“Had we known that then, the insidious nature of spread in the community would have been much more of an alarm, and there would have been much, much more stringent restrictions in the sense of very, very heavy, encouraging people to wear masks, physical distancing or what have you,” he said.

One of the key changes Fauci said he would have implemented involves a greater emphasis on mask-wearing. Americans were reluctant to wear them, particularly in the early days of the pandemic when millions were infected.

“First of all, we did not fully appreciate that a well-fitted K95 or NK95 mask is much, much better than a cloth mask and to wear a good mask, the data now are very clear that masks are very good at preventing both the acquisition of and transmission of infection.”

But where the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases differs from what occurred at the start of the COVID pandemic was with lockdowns – a measure he said he did not recommend.

Fauci called the criticism that he has come under during the pandemic “not fair,” but added that he accepts the criticism.

“I always take criticism seriously, analyze it and see if there’s anything I can learn and do better from the criticism,” he said. “Sometimes it’s outlandish, but sometimes there’s a kernel of truth in that.”

Top health official Anthony Fauci said authorities "knew it was just a matter of time" before the strain was found in the country, reminding Americans that vaccination, boosters and masking in indoor public settings remained the best way to stay protected
Top health official Anthony Fauci said authorities "knew it was just a matter of time" before the strain was found in the country, reminding Americans that vaccination, boosters and masking in indoor public settings remained the best way to stay protected AFP / MANDEL NGAN
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