Dr. Fauci and health officials update Senate when returning to work and school amid coronavirus

Washington Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the nation’s leading infectious disease experts, told a Senate panel Tuesday that he “would not be surprised” to see the daily number of new coronavirus cases rise to 100,000 per day if the The country does not take measures to spread. new infections

In a hearing before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), Fauci said he was “very concerned” about the increase in new cases across the country, saying “the numbers speak for themselves.”

“Clearly we are not in full control at the moment,” Fauci said, noting that “we are going in the wrong direction” in terms of new cases. Fauci said he couldn’t estimate how many people would ultimately become infected, but said the numbers could worsen.

“It is going to be very disturbing, I guarantee it, because when you have an outbreak in one part of the country, although in other parts of the country they are fine, they are vulnerable,” Fauci continued. “We now have over 40,000 new cases a day. I wouldn’t be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this doesn’t change.”

Virus outbreak senate
The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, speaks during a Senate hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday, June 30, 2020.

Al Drago / AP

His testimony comes as outbreaks in various states fuel concerns about the virus’s persistence. States like Florida and Texas They have seen a record number of new cases in recent days, and the governors have paused or withdrawn some of their reopening measures.

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, appeared before lawmakers alongside Admiral Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for Health and Human Services; Dr. Stephen Hahn, Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration; and Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control.

In his opening statement, Redfield said hospitalizations are increasing in 12 states and daily deaths in Arizona. They also discussed the difficulties education administrators face in reopening schools in the fall. Giroir urged school leaders to follow CDC guidelines in terms of testing, facial covering, and social distancing.

Republican Senator Lamar Alexander, chairman of the AID Committee, said he urged President Trump to wear a mask in public more frequently, and expressed dismay that the use of facial coatings has become politicized.

“I have suggested that the president should occasionally wear a mask, although there are not many occasions when it is necessary for him to do so. The president has millions of fans. They would follow his lead,” Alexander said. The President has rarely been seen wearing a mask.

Under questioning by Senator Bernie Sanders, Giroir said he believed it would be helpful to make free masks available to all Americans. All officials also agreed with Sanders’ premise that when a vaccine is produced, it must be freely available to all Americans.

Fauci urged school administrators to make reopening decisions based on the reopening phase of their state or region, and to ensure that health guidelines are followed.

Dr. Anthony Fauci on when children can safely return to school

“The basic fundamental objective would be as possible for children to return to school and to use public health efforts as a tool to help children return to school,” said Fauci.

Fauci warned Sunday that the United States is not likely to achieve herd immunity to the coronavirus if a part of the population refuses to receive a vaccine once it becomes available. If enough people in a population are immune to disease, usually through vaccination, this helps suppress outbreaks and provides protection for people who are not immune.

He said in an interview that he was part of the Aspen Festival of Ideas that he would “settle” for a COVID-19 vaccine that is between 70% and 75% effective. However, with that level of effectiveness, if 25% of Americans are not vaccinated, Fauci said it is “unlikely” that the United States will achieve collective immunity. According to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the percentage of a population that must be immune ranges from 70% to 90% to achieve herd immunity, depending on how contagious the disease is.

Fauci, a member of the White House coronavirus working group, has expressed concern and frustration lately about “a general anti-scienceanti-authority anti-vaccine feeling among some people in this country. “

In the tests, which are considered to play a role in monitoring the progress of the disease among Americans as states reopen, Giroir told a House panel last week that the United States is conducting around 500,000 tests per day, with the expectation that between 40 and 50 million tests will be performed per month by the fall.