While protests and unrest roil across the U.S., the conversation has shifted away from recovery and reopening, but experts are warning that we can’t forget the virus.
Dr. Fauci, the Director of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institute of Health, joined us to bring America up-to-date in the fight against the coronavirus, from news on a vaccine, to the delicate balance between reopening and containing the virus.
Fauci was “cautiously optimistic” that the U.S.’s fight against the pandemic is “going in the right direction.”
“The number of deaths continues to come down,” Fauci said, noting that in most areas of the country Americans have succeeded in “flattening out” the rate of infection, but warned that in some places, the infection rates were growing.
Fauci was hopeful that by providing adequate identification, isolation, and contact tracing, Americans can be confident that they can prevent “resurgences of infection.”
“Although things are still active, we’re cautiously optimistic things are going in the right direction.”
Fauci also addressed tougher questions concerning Chinese authorities suppressing scientists and obfuscating the facts of the virus in the crucial first days of the outbreak.
“I think the Chinese authorities that did not allow the scientists to speak out as openly and as transparently as they could have, really did a disservice.”
The scandal has echoed beyond China, with many, including the President, criticizing the World Health Organization’s initial faith in Chinese reports of the virus.
While he couldn’t comment on the Chinese relationship with the WHO, Fauci said that the WHO was “an imperfect organization” whose flaws can be corrected and put “back on the right track.”
The reopening of the U.S. coincides with medical professionals gaining better treatments to combat the coronavirus, something that experts say will be essential until we create a vaccine.
One of these weapons, a drug called Remdesivir, which was originally given to those hospitalized with lung disease, shows beneficial effects for the treatment of coronavirus.
The trial for Remdisiver showed “a modest 31 percent” decrease in the time of recovery for patients, something Fauci called “statistically quite significant.”
“We hope that in the coming months, with other drugs of a similar category, as well as other interventions that are going into clinical trial and that are in clinical trial, will prove to be beneficial,” he explained.
While Fauci believes a vaccine is still months and months away, he again told The Cats Roundtable that he was “cautiously optimistic” about the search for one, and cited the U.S government’s close collaboration with “four to five” candidates for a vaccine, including a phase-3 study to be conducted in July.
“We’re hoping that by the time we get into the mid-late Fall, we’ll be able to get some data to indicate whether or not it works,” he told The Cats Roundtable.
If no “glitches or speed bumps” appear, then Fauci hopes we might have a vaccine “toward the very end of this year.”
But Fauci emphasized that while he’s hopeful, there is “no guarantee.”
“But at least there’s the possibility and the indication that this might be able to be accomplished by that time,” he told The Cats Roundtable.
While he believes we are successfully stemming the tide of the virus, Fauci warned Americans not to look at the coronavirus one-dimensionally. While hospitalizations and deaths are declining, he believes we can still do better.
Dr. Fauci also addressed the alarming death rates of coronavirus patients who needed ventilators, with some hospitals reporting a mortality rate as high as 80 percent.
“This is infection is so severe that by the time you get on a ventilator, you are already very seriously ill,” he said. While he explained that the morality rate for ventilator patients might vary from hospital to hospital, the number was “unacceptably high.”
Fauci is confident that the information and the research reassure him that the virus “will end” according to how we respond to the challenge. “We’ve got to do that delicate balance between moving forward in a careful way and heeding the guidelines, so we don’t do something precipitously, but continue to push ahead to get back to normal,” he said.
“Hopefully, we’re in the right direction. I believe we are. We just need to keep pushing.”
Listen to the interview below