Dr Anthony Fauci has revealed that he doesn’t believe COVID-19 will ever be eradicated as cases continue to spike in a number of states.
During a discussion with TB Alliance, a nonprofit that researches treatments for tuberculosis, Fauci explained that he doesn’t see COVID-19 ‘disappearing the way SARS-1 did’.
‘The reason I say that is it is so efficient in its ability to transmit from human to human that I think we ultimately will get control of it,’ Fauci said. ‘I don’t really see us eradicating it.’
The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases then listed three things that he believes will help the US get a grip on the virus.
‘I think with a combination of good public health measures, a degree of global herd immunity and a good vaccine — which I do hope and feel cautiously optimistic that we will get — I think when you put all three of those together, I think we will get very good control of this,’ he said.
Fauci’s remarks come just a day after President Donald Trump finally admitted that the coronavirus ‘will get worse before it will get better’.
‘It will probably unfortunately get worse before it gets better,’ Trump said from the White House on Tuesday.
But he also touted a reduction in deaths and progress on vaccines and treatments for COVID-19.
He continued his recent encouragement of Americans to wear masks when social distancing is not possible.
‘Whether you like the mask or not, they have an impact,’ he said. ‘I’m getting used to the mask,’ he added, pulling one out after months of suggesting that mask-wearing was a political statement against him.
Swaths of the country are now battling rising infections and growing deaths, and some states are once again having to close businesses and rethink school in the fall. Many retailers themselves are insisting their customers don masks.
For months, the nation’s top health experts have pleaded with Americans to wear masks in public and steer clear of crowds — calling those simple steps life-saving — even as the president’s stance fueled a partisan social divide.
As of Thursday there are more than 3.9 million confirmed cases of coronavirus in the US, which is far more than the infection rate that any other country has reported, and the death toll is more than 143,000.
California, which earned plaudits from health officials for aggressive early action that included the first statewide stay-at-home order, is among states seeing a surge.
On Wednesday, California passed New York for the most confirmed cases with 409,000.
Meanwhile, Florida reported another 9,785 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday and an additional 139 deaths.
There are a total of 379,619 Florida cases with 5,345 deaths related to COVID-19.
Fauci and two other top public health officials will testify next week to a House subcommittee that’s been investigating the federal response to a coronavirus pandemic still inflicting a relentless toll on Americans, officials with the panel said Wednesday.
The July 31 hearing will focus on ‘the urgent need for a national comprehensive plan’ to address the virus, committee officials said in a statement announcing the session.
The Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, created earlier this year by the House, is supposed to track the trillions of dollars Congress has already approved to buttress the shuttered economy and to finance testing, research and medical supplies for strained health care providers.
The panel is dominated by Democrats and led by No. 3 House Democratic leader James Clyburn of South Carolina.
Fauci was prevented from testifying to another House committee earlier this year, but ended up appearing before a panel in the Republican-controlled Senate and another House committee last month.
As early as next week, the first possible US vaccine is set to begin final-stage testing in a study of 30,000 people to see if it really is safe and effective.
‘The vaccines are coming, and they’re coming a lot sooner than anybody thought possible,’ Trump said earlier this week.
A few other vaccines have begun smaller late-stage studies in other countries, and in the US a series of huge studies are planned to start each month through fall in hopes of, eventually, having several vaccines to use. Already, people can start signing up to volunteer for the different studies.
Health authorities warn there’s no guarantee – it’s not unusual for vaccines to fail during this critical testing step.
But vaccine makers and health officials are hopeful that at least one vaccine could prove to work by year’s end.
Companies already are taking the unusual step of brewing hundreds of millions of doses so that mass vaccinations could begin if the Food and Drug Administration signs off.