Leading infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci on Friday disagreed with President Donald Trump’s claim at a news conference just a day before that the country is victoriously winding down in its battle with coronavirus.
“We have rounded the final turn,” Trump told reporters on Thursday as he fended off questions about revelations that he had intentionally misled the American public about the deadliness of the coronavirus in Bob Woodward’s forthcoming book, “Rage.”
President Trump made the remarks hours after Fauci urged Americans to “hunker down and get through this fall and winter, because it’s not going to be easy.”
Fauci pushed back on Friday afternoon telling MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell in an interview that contrary to Trump’s insistence that outbreaks are subsiding, the real-time statistics are “disturbing.”
“We’re plateauing at around 40,000 cases a day,” Fauci said bluntly, adding that he had hopes that a surge in cases wouldn’t trail the Labor Day weekend as it did following July 4th.
Fauci who directs the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease also warned that the current high baseline of infections and threats of “increased test positivity” in certain parts of the country needed to be addressed heading into the fall season as people spend more time indoors.
“You don’t want to start off already with a baseline that’s so high,” Fauci said, adding that his warning about reducing baseline infections were not new. “I’ve been stressing this over the last few weeks to a month or more,” Fauci said.
Unsurprisingly, packed rallies — even outdoors — do not help to lower that baseline.
The public health expert said that crowded areas outdoors “absolutely” bear risk of transmission of coronavirus when he was asked about Trump’s crammed campaign events, including one in Michigan Thursday, where thousands gathered at an aircraft hangar and many of his supporters proudly flouted masks.
“You’re crowded together and you don’t have a mask, the chances of a respiratory transmission of a virus clearly are there,” Fauci said, adding: “Just because you’re outdoors does not mean you’re protected, particularly if you’re in a crowd and you’re not wearing masks.”
As the President continues unblinkingly to deceive the public amid a deadly health crisis — by pushing for a COVID-19 vaccine to be approved ahead of the presidential election — Fauci also said that even if a vaccine is developed later this year or early next year, it’s overly optimistic to suggest that the nation will achieve vaccination of a majority of the population before close to the middle or end of 2021.
“If you’re talking about getting back to a degree of normality which resembles where we were prior to COVID, it’s going to be toward the middle of 2021, maybe even the end of 2021,” Fauci said. He maintained however, that he feels “really quite confident” that in spite of public concerns over the politicization of the vaccine approval process, “this is going to be done correctly.”