Daily US Times: The top US infectious diseases Dr Anthony Fauci has warned senators the virus will spread if the country opens up too soon. He said if federal guidelines to reopen are not followed, “little spikes” will become outbreaks.
He also said the US death toll is probably higher than 80,000, what is officially declared. His message is at odds with the upbeat tone of President Donald Trump who is keen to get the economy going again.
Dr Fauci was speaking via a video link to a Senate committee run by Republicans. He was referring to the White House’s Opening Up America Again plan, which includes three 14-day phases that states are urged to consider implementing as they allow businesses and schools to reopen.
Despite their infection rates are rising, not falling, several US states already restarting their economies.
He warned the risk of triggering an outbreak that officials would not be able to control. ”Such an outbreak would set back economic recovery and could lead to suffering and death,” he adds.
Although the federal government has laid out guidelines for reopening, it is up to state governors to make decisions on how to ease the lockdown.
Dr Fauci warned the US officials, saying: “There is no doubt, even under the best of circumstances, when you pull back on mitigation you will see some cases appear.”
Dr Fauci was asked about the possibility of a rebound in autumn of the virus, he replied that is “entirely conceivable and possible”.
“I hope that if we do have the threat of a second wave we will be able to deal with it very effectively to prevent it becoming an outbreak.”
He told the senators that there are multiple vaccines in development but gave “no guarantee” any will be effective. But he said based on his knowledge of other viruses, he is “cautiously optimistic”.
Dr Fauci said: “We have many candidates and hope to have multiple winners. In other words it’s multiple shots on goal.”
Witnesses testify remotely
During the over three-hour-long hearing, witnesses appeared remotely, as did some senators on the Senate Committee on Health, Education Labor and Pensions.
The three members of the White House coronavirus task force, including Dr Fauci, who testified are self-isolating after possible exposure to the illness.
Dr Fauci has tested negative for the coronavirus but will continue to work from home for the time being, and will be regularly tested.