Fauci: We're not going in the right direction

US top infectious disease expert says he is growing increasingly concerned with the number of coronavirus infections.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Anthony Fauci
Anthony Fauci

The US top infectious disease expert said on Thursday he is growing increasingly concerned with the number of coronavirus infections in the United States as cases grow at an unprecedented rate even after months of lockdowns, The Hill reports.

Speaking a day after the country confirmed more than 50,000 new cases of coronavirus in a single 24-hour period, Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said younger people are now accounting for a much greater share of the pandemic.

"I think it's pretty obvious, Howard, that we are not going in the right direction," Fauci was quoted as having said in an interview with Howard Bauchner, editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"We need to realize that if we do not adhere to the guidelines as we're trying to open, and I don't mean officially, I mean the citizenry, the people that are out there, we're going to be in some serious difficulty," he added.

Fauci pointed to Arizona, California, Florida and Texas, four states that have accounted for about half the new cases in the country this year. Hospital systems in Arizona and Texas are beginning to report they are running out of bed space for patients, while hospitalizations are rising in other parts of the country.

Those mass outbreaks, he warned, threaten to overwhelm even areas that have the virus under control.

"The whole enterprise could be at risk," Fauci warned, though he added the number of vaccine candidates in various stages of development give him hope that several different drugs might prove effective.

The goal, Fauci said, is to have hundreds of millions of doses of vaccine by early 2021, and a billion or more doses by this time next year.

"When you have two or three companies which you hope will be successful, they are going to be making vaccine not only for their own country, but availability in other countries," Fauci said. "There's this misperception that everybody's racing to be the winner. There's not going to be a winner. I would imagine from what we see that several of these vaccines are going to be very similar in their effect, and hopefully more than one of them will be successful."

Fauci declined to name the companies that have already begun production.

As school districts and colleges make plans to reopen their doors in the late summer or the fall, Fauci said education officials are thinking through ways to open and operate safely.

"When you look at schools, there really is a delicate balance there, because obviously if you have massive, massive outbreaks where you have an exponential elevation of a curve of new infections in a particular area, you really don't want to have the kids go to school there. But we really need to be much more flexible in what we can do to get the children back to school," he said. "A fundamental principle is, within the realm of some prudent evaluation of the safety to the children and the impact on the community, we should try as best as possible to get the kids back to school."

"In certain circumstances where you get them back but there are still viral dynamics in the community, there are a lot of creative ways that superintendents of schools are thinking seriously about how you can mitigate the possibility of there being children being the vehicles of spread: Alternating days of classes, morning versus afternoon, the wearing of masks for children who are old enough to understand what it means to wear a mask, having capabilities of online for children who have underlying conditions that might put them at risk, protecting the teachers," he said. "The principle should be, how can we prudently, with sensitivity to the safety of the kids, get the children back to school?"

Earlier this week, Fauci issued a stark warning to lawmakers on Capitol Hill, saying the US could see new cases of coronavirus rising to a level of 100,000 a day.

Last week, he warned Congress that the United States faces "historic" challenges with the coronavirus and that Americans should brace for a lengthy battle against the pandemic.