Fauci Makes Dire Forecast 'If This Doesn't Turn Around'

Henrietta Strickland
July 1, 2020

We can't just focus on those areas that are having the surge. "It puts the entire country at risk". "I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around, and so I am very concerned".

"I have suggested the president should occasionally wear a mask, even though there are not many occasions when it is necessary for him to do so", he said. "The president has millions of admirers".

A new normal for schools: Fauci said schools should reopen per CDC guidelines and be open to modifying school schedules, alternating days, and even virtual lessons. "Anything that furthers the use of masks, whether it's giving out free masks or any other mechanism, I am thoroughly in favor of".

"We saw visually in clips and in photographs of individuals in the community doing an all or none phenomenon, which is risky", he said.

Why it matters: Suppression of the virus has failed, and the U.S.is missing presidential leadership on social distancing and face masks.

"I think there was a lot of wishful thinking around the country that, "hey it's summer".

Many US states have paused reopenings as their infection caseloads balloon.

But when asked by CNN senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen whether the US can get to herd immunity if 25% of the population refuses to get a coronavirus vaccine with that rate of effectiveness, Fauci said, "No, unlikely". "We must take personal responsibility and be disciplined about our own behavior".

Countries including the U.S. are scrambling to develop a vaccine, and Fauci has said one could be available by the end of 2020 or early 2021.

He also said he was "cautiously optimistic" that a vaccine could be ready by the end of the year or early 2021. In May only half of Americans said they would get one if it becomes available, while a Washington Post survey showed 27% would likely refuse a vaccine.

Fauci gave his bleak assessment in response to questions during his latest appearance on Capitol Hill to brief lawmakers on the state of the pandemic as new infections are rampant across much of the South and West, with hospitalizations escalating in a dozen states.

The panel also addressed the skepticism that still remains within the country over the safety of a vaccine. American Airlines Group Inc.'s announcement on Friday that it would resume selling flights to capacity on July 1 rather than capping passengers to keep them socially distanced caused "substantial disappointment" among public health officials, he said.

Fauci said it's unlikely any vaccine will be 100% protective against the coronavirus, and he noted the best vaccine available, which protects against measles, is 97% effective with two doses.

The key is for the public to stop what Fauci called "an all-or-nothing phenomenon", meaning either a state is locked down or people are in bars without masks on.

"We have way too much virus across the country for that right now, so it's very discouraging".

One suggestion is to pool testing samples. In parts of Texas and Arizona, hospital intensive care beds for COVID-19 patients are in short supply.

"I can say this is under critical review by us at CDC", Redfield said.

The hearing comes as several states struggle to contain the virus as they start to reopen amid a nationwide jump in case counts.

The president himself has bucked conventional wisdom on slowing the spread of COVID-19, holding large in-person events as part of his reelection campaign.

With the virus surging in many US states, the European Union has excluded Americans from its "safe list" of countries from which the bloc will allow non-essential travel beginning on Wednesday.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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