During Tuesday's daily White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing, Dr. Anthony Fauci compared today's pandemic to the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 1980s.
Fauci was responding to reports that African-Americans were disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. He said that the disease has "shed a light" on health disparities in the United States much like the HIV/AIDS crisis did with gay people.
"During that time, there was extraordinary stigma, particularly against the gay community," Fauci said. "And it was only when the world realized how the gay community responded to this outbreak with incredible courage and dignity and strength and activism – I think that really changed some of the stigma against the gay community, very much so."
Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases, helped develop treatments for HIV/AIDS, some of which are still in use today.
"When you're in the middle of a crisis, like we are now with the coronavirus, it really does ultimately shine a very bright light on some of the real weaknesses and foibles in our society," Fauci said.
The U.S. government is expected to begin releasing data based on race and other factors later this week. Preliminary data shows African-Americans being disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
President Donald Trump said that the disparity doesn't "make sense," and added that he doesn't "like it."Related: Chicago LGBTQ COVID-19 Resources