Fauci: Next Few Weeks 'Critical' in COVID Fight

He's worried about a 'disturbing surge' in some states because of community spread
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 23, 2020 2:25 PM CDT

(Newser) – Dr. Anthony Fauci testified before a House panel Tuesday, and his assessment of the coronavirus fight is notably darker than President Trump's. Fauci summed it up as a "mixed bag," citing progress in states such as New York but a "disturbing surge in infections" elsewhere, in part because of "community spread." That's in contrast to statements from Trump and Mike Pence chalking up the rise to increased testing, reports the Washington Post. Fauci's warning: “The next couple of weeks are going to be critical in our ability to address those surges we are seeing in Florida, Texas, Arizona, and other states,” he said, per the New York Times. Related coverage:

  • What to do? "The way you address that—and I've said this over and over again—is you have to have the manpower, the system, the testing to identify, isolate, and contact trace in an effective way so that when you see those increases, you can understand where they are coming from, and you can do something about them," Fauci said, per CNN. (He said testing would be increased, not decreased, adding that Trump had not asked his team to slow the process.)

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  • Vaccine: Fauci said he's "cautiously optimistic" a vaccine could be ready by the end of 2020 or early next year, reports Vox. He cited a vaccine trial by Moderna, which is about to enter phase 3, in which 30,000 people will receive a small dose. Other trials are only months behind, he said. Fauci emphasized that no corners will be cut on safety.
  • Advice: Get a flu shot this fall, urged CDC chief Dr. Robert Redfield, who also testified Tuesday. "This single act will save lives."
  • Decline in deaths: Fauci noted that deaths from the virus have been declining, but he didn't put much stock in that because “deaths always lag considerably behind cases" and he feared the trend could reverse. On the right, Clay Travis at Outkick thinks the mainstream media's lack of coverage on the decline in deaths is evidence of bias.
  • In Texas: Gov. Greg Abbott said Tuesday the state eclipsed 5,000 new cases in a single day, an unwelcome first. The Republican governor has stopped short of measures such as making masks mandatory, though the AP notes that he has suggested stricter safety measures might be coming soon. “There remain a lot of people in the state of Texas who think that the spread of COVID-19 is not a challenge,” he said. “The coronavirus is serious. It's spreading."
  • Testing stats: The US has tested nearly 30 million people, but it's per-capita rate is behind that of nations including Russia, Spain, and the UK, reports STAT News. About 2.3 million have tested positive.
(Read more Anthony Fauci stories.)

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