President Trump’s infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci issued a grim assessment of the coronavirus Tuesday, calling the ongoing pandemic his ‘worst nightmare’ and insisting the fight against its spread is far from over.
The bleak admission from Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, comes as states across the US continue with their gradual reopening efforts amid widespread protests over the police killing of George Floyd.
‘In a period of four months, it has devastated the whole world,’ Fauci said of COVID-19 during a virtual appearance at a Biotechnology Innovation Organization conference. ‘And it isn’t over yet.’
As of Tuesday, confirmed coronavirus cases in the US are heading towards two million and more than 111,000 have died.
The White House advisor said although he knew it was possible for a devastating outbreak like this could occur, he was surprised by how ‘rapidly he took over the planet’.
‘An efficiently transmitted disease can spread worldwide in six months or a year, but this took about a month,’ Fauci said.
Fauci continued that still so little is known about the virus, how it can be contracted or spread and the specific impact it may have on the human body.
He said the coronavirus is far more complicated than HIV – a disease he has dedicated his career studying – because of its varying degrees of severity, ranging from asymptomatic carriers to patients who develop fatal conditions.
‘Oh my goodness,’ Fauci responded. ‘Where is it going to end? We’re still at the beginning of really understanding.’
The nation’s top coronavirus expert added that vaccines will be the only way to completely curb the coronavirus’ spread, however he did voice confidence that an antidote would be found soon.
Fauci said he’s expecting ‘more than one winner in the vaccine field because we will need vaccines for the entire world — billions and billions of doses,’ he said.
‘I’m very heartened by the fact that the industry has stepped to the plate — very much differently than what we saw with SARS,’ Fauci continued. ‘The industry is not stupid — they figured it out. SARS had a degree of transmissibility that it burned itself out with pure public health measures. No way is that going to happen with this virus.’
The doctor said COVID-19 shines a ‘bright light’ on the health disparities in the US, warning that as the country begins to rear its head from the public health crisis, resources must be readily available for the most vulnerable communities.
Fauci identified African Americans as a particularly vulnerable group, who, because of a number of different factors – including socioeconomic and employment – have been ‘getting hit with a double whammy’ of the virus.
‘[African Americans] have a greater proportion of jobs that don’t allow them to sit in front of a computer and do telework. They’re out there, they’re doing a lot of things physically where you to have interact,’ Fauci said.
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Luke Kenton