NIKHILA NATARAJAN –
America’s top infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci urged Americans to put their faith in “respected medical authorities” to navigate the pandemic, saying that those who have a track record of giving recommendations based on scientific evidence and good data are society’s “best bet”.
“So, if I were to give advice to you and your family, I would say that’s the safest bet to do. I believe, for the most part, you can trust respected medical authorities. I believe I’m one of them, so I think you can trust me,” Fauci said Tuesday afternoon.
Fauci’s comments came on a day that marked a major milestone in the search for a COVID-19 vaccine. An experimental vaccine, developed by Fauci’s colleagues at the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., has shown that it activates people’s immune systems exactly the way scientists hoped. This vaccine candidate will start on a 30,000-person study by July 27.
Fauci has consistently maintained that he remains “cautiously optimistic” for effective and safe vaccine latest by early 2021.
Fauci was speaking at a Georgetown University webinar. His comments come amidst a White House smear campaign, spraying into public view a long list of “mistakes” Fauci has made since the pandemic began.
Leading public health experts across the country have reacted to the politicization of the coronavirus response, saying no other president has driven a wedge between public health officials and society like Trump has done.
The coronavirus has already killed more than 136,000 Americans and cases are surging to alarming levels across the US south and southwest. The US death rate per 100,000 population has ticked up from the high 30s to 41 per 100,000.
Pointing to the steep trajectory of the latest surge, Fauci explained to his live stream audience that the caseload in America never came back to baseline before it started spiking again. A big part of the reason, he said, is because America never fully locked down.
In Fauci’s view, America only locked down about “50-55 percent”. “If you look at our curve, for better or worse, we went up, we peaked, we came down and we never really came all the way down to baseline. We stayed around 20,000 a day of new cases. So, the issue is, we never got down to the baseline,” he said.
Fauci compared the American experience with that of countries in Europe and Asia which were more successful in flattening their infection curves.”When they shut down, they essentially locked down. They locked down to the tune of about 90 plus per cent,” Fauci said.
Responding to questions on how effectively the coronavirus is transmitted via aerosol, Fauci stressed that droplet transmission remains the most dominant way the virus is affecting populations at scale.
Fauci repeated his plea to young Americans to show “societal responsibility” and stay away from what he called “political nonsense,” referring to the divisive rhetoric that has made universal masking so elusive in the world’s wealthiest nation.
America leads the world in coronavirus caseload. More than three million people have been sickened and more than 136,000 have died since the first case was reported on the US west coast in early January this year.