The United States lost the opportunity to control the outbreak. Now it is “impossible to predict” how long the pandemic will last, says Fauci

The United States is seeing a resurgence of coronavirus infections after states began reopening their economies, with the number of cases now at more than 4.4 million and the number of deaths at 152,070, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The Institute for Health Measurement and Assessment raised its forecast to 219,864 total deaths by November, in part because the nation continues to debate measures such as wearing masks and social distancing.

“What we have to do is take all the stops to get him to the baseline and keep him there doing the things that we’ve been talking about, that I’ve been talking about, consistently,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday. , director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, during the CNN coronavirus council.

Regularly taking such precautions is especially important since a delay in obtaining test results renders some coronavirus tests virtually useless.

“It shouldn’t be acceptable” that US tests are so far behind schedule, US Department of Health and Human Services Admiral Deputy Secretary for Health Brett Giroir said Thursday.

While he said about 25% of tests give results in about 15 minutes, most take days. Giroir said his goal is for all tests to be “sensitive and specific and to come back in 15 minutes.”

But, he said, “you can’t prove how to get out of this,” and people should wear masks, avoid crowds, and avoid being indoors with others.

Fauci added: “If we do that, I think we will be fine to see this under control. If we do not, then we cannot make a prediction on how long it will last.”

Uncertainty about rapid vaccine development

Meanwhile, the race for a vaccine to protect against the coronavirus is underway, and while some initial data looks promising, there are still questions about the vaccines under development.

The leader of Operation Warp Speed ​​says he expects the coronavirus vaccine to be highly effective, 'in the 90% range'

Operation Warp Speed, the federal government’s multi-billion dollar Covid-19 vaccine program, has provided funding for two potential vaccines that have quickly reached advanced stages of human testing.

Operation chief Moncef Slaoui said Thursday that he would not be surprised if a vaccine were 90% effective against the virus, but Fauci said only time will tell.

“We hope it is so,” said Fauci. “As we’ve said all along, you never know. The test of pudding is to do the clinical trial and get the result, and that’s what we’re doing.”

But people will need to be vaccinated to protect them, and even those not put off by existing conspiracy theories around vaccines could be scared even by the name of the project, Bill Gates said Thursday.

“We certainly need people to be rational about vaccines. They eradicated smallpox, they saved millions and millions of lives,” he said. “They are very complex to design, and so, you know, saying that it’s being done at Warp Speed ​​is a little scary, because you really need to do the security checks very carefully,” said the founder of Microsoft and co- President of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Gates said the public should take comfort in the fact that the non-political staff of the Food and Drug Administration holds the line to ensure that rapidly developing drugs are effective and safe.

Plans put into action as the first day of school approaches

As the start of the school year approaches, officials are tasked with balancing public concern about children’s safety with the impact that e-learning could have on their education and well-being.

Jefferson City Schools will be the first in Georgia to reopen on Friday.  These parents will not send their children.

In New York City, students will return to school with safety protocols for cleaning, pinpointing and distancing, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday.

“We are doing everything in our power to keep children healthy while ensuring that they receive the education they deserve. These rigorous testing and tracking protocols will keep our students and staff safe as we begin this new school year,” he said. de Blasio.

Philly was originally going back to a school year that combined virtual and in-person learning, but after a backlash, the Board of Education voted to provide all remote learning until at least November, with Superintendent Dr. William Hite promising that the change will not remove the emphasis on student achievement.

Districts in Florida are still weighing their options, but Governor Ron DeSantis advocates a model based on parent choice.

“I think there should be an option for parents throughout Florida,” said DeSantis. “Parents who prefer distance education should be able to opt for it, and parents who want in-person instruction should have access to it.”

States try to reduce trends

As parents and school districts weigh their choices, state officials are developing strategies to reverse the increase in the numbers of infections.

These are the states that require people to wear masks when they are in public

Texas researchers estimated Thursday that just two weeks of social distancing policies reduced the spread of the coronavirus by 65%, while states that have resisted those policies saw almost no reduction.

Illinois could be reversing its reopening plan and reverting to social distancing policies if the number of positive cases continues to rise, Governor JB Pritzker said during a press conference on Thursday.

Arizona is a state “headed in the right direction” with a downward trend since early July, Governor Doug Ducey said Thursday.

“This is not a victory lap. This is not a celebration. In any case, it is evidence that the decisions and the sacrifice that Arizonans are making are working,” Ducey said.

CNN’s Shelby Lin Erdman, Jennifer Henderson, Haley Brink and Andrea Kane contributed to this report.