United States President Donald Trump on Wednesday criticised the congressional testimony delivered by the nation’s top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci a day earlier against the dangers of reopening the economy and schools too quickly. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told a Senate committee that premature lifting of the lockdown could lead to additional outbreaks of the coronavirus.

The coronavirus has killed more than 84,000 people in the United States, which is the worst-affected country by the pandemic.

“Well, I was surprised I was surprised by his answer, actually, because, you know, it’s just to me, it’s not an acceptable answer, especially when it comes to schools,” Trump told reporters.

Trump said the only thing that was acceptable would be professors or teachers “over a certain age” not holding classes, claiming that coronavirus had “very little impact” on young people.

“He [Fauci] wants to play all sides of the equation,” the president added. “I think we’re going to have a tremendous fourth quarter, I think we’re going to have a transitional third quarter, and I think we’re going to have a phenomenal next year. I feel that we are going to have a country that’s ready to absolutely have one of its best years.”

The pandemic has jeopardised the president’s hopes for another four-year term.

On Tuesday, Fauci told the committee that reopening of economies will likely differ from one region to the other.

“We don’t know everything about this virus and we really better be pretty careful, particularly when it comes to children,” Fauci told the Senate panel. He said that “the idea of having treatments available or a vaccine to facilitate the re-entry of students into the fall term would be something that would be a bit of a bridge too far”. However, he later clarified that he did not imply to say that students should not return to class till a vaccine is developed for the coronavirus

Fauci has increasingly become the target of critics who see him as undermining the president’s efforts to open up the country and restore the economy. In April, Fauci had said that lives could have been saved in the United States, if the country had shut down earlier. Trump had then made headlines for sharing a tweet with the hashtag “FireFauci” after a series of reports detailed the president’s slow response to the pandemic.