A variety of responses by US states hurt the country's ability to contain the coronavirus pandemic, Fauci says

Dr. Anthony Fauci gives his take on if there is a need to lock down the US again to help fight the spread of Covid-19.

Posted: Jul 31, 2020 6:42 AM
Updated: Jul 31, 2020 5:45 PM


US states' 'diversity of response' hampered the country's ability to contain the spread of the coronavirus, Dr. Anthony Fauci said at a Congressional hearing on Friday, as the number of cases in the US topped 4.5 million.

When asked why Europe appears to have been more effective at controlling the spread of the virus, the nation's top infectious disease expert said that it might have helped that about 95% of Europe had shut down much earlier.

'When you actually look at what we did -- even though we shut down, even though it created a great deal of difficulty -- we really functionally shut down only about 50% in the sense of the totality of the country,' Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, said in response to a question from Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina.

Some states also followed reopening guidelines more closely than others, Fauci added, saying, 'There are some states that did it very well and some states that did not.'

'I think there was such a diversity of response in this country from different states that we really did not have a unified bringing everything down,' he added later, in response to a similar question from Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland.

The US is seeing a resurgence of coronavirus infections, and on Friday the number of cases surpassed 4.5 million, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. More than 152,870 people have died.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday published its ensemble forecast, which projected 173,270 coronavirus deaths in the US by August 22, with a range between 167,692 to 182,366 deaths.

Additionally, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation increased its forecast to 219,864 total deaths by November, in part because the nation continues to debate measures like wearing masks and social distancing.

'The thing we need to do is we need to pull out all the stops to get it down to baseline and to keep it there by doing the things that we've been talking about -- that I've been talking about -- consistently,' Fauci said Thursday night during CNN's coronavirus townhall.

'If we do that,' he added, 'then I think we will be well toward seeing this under control. If we don't, then we can't make a prediction about how long this will last.'

Uncertainty around rapidly developing vaccine

Meantime, the race is on for a vaccine to protect against coronavirus, and though some early data looks promising there are still questions around vaccines in development.

Operation Warp Speed, the federal government's multi-billion dollar Covid-19 vaccine program, has provided funding for two potential vaccines that have quickly made their way to advanced human trial phases.

The head of the operation, Moncef Slaoui, said Thursday he wouldn't be surprised if a vaccine turned out to be 90% effective against the virus.

On Friday, Fauci reiterated that he believed a vaccine could be available by the end of the year.

'I believe it will occur,' Fauci told Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York, adding he was 'cautiously optimistic' based on data from trials in animals and humans that 'we will have a vaccine by the end of this year and as we go into 2021.'

'I don't think it's dreaming, Congresswoman,' Fauci said. 'I believe it is the reality.'

Additionally, Fauci said that 30,000 people have already started to enroll for the Phase 3 trial of a vaccine in development by his agency and Moderna. As of Thursday night, more than 250,000 people had registered interest in trials for a coronavirus vaccine, Fauci said.

'I just want to use my last couple of seconds to urge anyone who's listening who wants to participate to please go to that website and register so that you can be part of the solution of this terrible scourge,' Fauci said.

But people will need to get the vaccine in order for it to protect them, and even those who aren't deterred by existing conspiracy theories around vaccines could be scared off even by the project's name, 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 that's why, you know, saying it's being done at Warp Speed is a little scary, because you really need to do the safety checks very, very carefully,' said the founder of Microsoft and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Gates said the public should take comfort that the nonpolitical staff at the Food and Drug Administration are holding the line to ensure the rapidly developing drugs are effective and safe.

Plans put into action as first day of school nears

As the start of the school year grows closer, officials are tasked with balancing public concern over children's safety with the impact virtual learning could have on their education and welfare.

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

'We are doing everything in our power to keep kids healthy while ensuring they are getting the education they deserve. These rigorous test and trace protocols will keep our students and staff safe as we start off this new school year,' de Blasio said.

Philadelphia originally was going to return to a school year that combined virtual and in-person learning, but after 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.

On Friday, the Salt Lake City Board of Education in Utah voted to begin the school year remotely, and push the start date back two weeks, to September 8. The extra time will be used to distribute devices to students and allow teachers to establish personal connections with them and their families, the district said.

Districts in Florida are still weighing their options, but Gov. Ron DeSantis is advocating for a model based on parents' choice.

'Parents who prefer distance learning should be able to opt for it, and parents who desire in person instruction should have access to it,' the governor said.

Elsewhere, recent cases at schools and camps demonstrate the risks of returning to class in-person.

One student tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday after attending the first day of school in an Indiana school district, according to a letter sent to parents that evening.

The superintendent of the Greenfield-Central Community School Corporation informed parents that the junior high school student was immediately isolated and parents whose children had close contact with the student were notified.

Meanwhile, the CDC warned that an outbreak at a Georgia camp in mid-June was a warning of what could happen as schools reopen. Five days after the start of orientation, a teenage staffer fell ill and tested positive the next day, per the study published in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

In all, at least 44% -- or 260 of the 597 attendees -- were infected by the coronavirus, though the rate could be even higher as test results were only available for 344 attendees.

The camp had followed some but not all of the CDC's guidance, the report said. The camp only required staff members to wear masks, but not the campers. Attendees also engaged in 'daily vigorous singing and cheering,' which could have contributed to transmission.

Wearing masks, social distancing and hand washing were all recommended for school reopenings, the report said, and 'are critical to prevent transmission of the virus in settings involving children and are our greatest tools to prevent Covid-19.'

Terre Haute
Clear
30° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 30°
Robinson
Clear
31° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 31°
Indianapolis/Eagle Creek
Clear
27° wxIcon
Hi: 34° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 27°
Paris
Clear
28° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 22°
Feels Like: 22°
Mattoon/Charleston
Clear
29° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 23°
Terre Haute
Clear
30° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 30°
Terre Haute
Clear
30° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 22°
Feels Like: 30°
Clearer Sky
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

Latest Video

Image

All You Need to Know for Tuesday

Image

Tuesday: Clouds move out, cold. High: 36

Image

Tyreke Key moves into Top 10

Image

IHSAA Moves Boys State

Image

GBB North Central Orleans

Image

Tracking light snow - how long will it stick around?

Image

How you can avoid carbon monoxide poisoning

Image

NAACP installs new committee members during Monday meeting

Image

West Terre Haute armed robbery under investigation

Image

Marshall, Illinois town meeting

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1072214

Reported Deaths: 20118
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook4343419046
DuPage689701151
Will58209870
Lake53227886
Kane45873676
Winnebago26265407
Madison24262463
St. Clair22191426
McHenry21591248
Champaign1539099
Peoria14966239
Sangamon14477234
McLean13170159
Tazewell11885245
Rock Island11860302
Kankakee11465179
Kendall966678
LaSalle9427247
Macon8794179
Vermilion7470112
DeKalb743792
Adams7337117
Williamson6166116
Boone553277
Whiteside5250173
Clinton500685
Coles469880
Ogle458971
Knox4579141
Grundy435954
Effingham430668
Jackson416867
Henry400776
Marion3970111
Franklin382969
Macoupin382694
Randolph371468
Livingston363566
Monroe356170
Stephenson352474
Jefferson3421104
Morgan325289
Woodford318766
Logan308356
Montgomery303841
Lee303172
Bureau299784
Christian297973
Fayette290653
Perry266560
Iroquois258756
Fulton255349
Jersey220656
Lawrence217230
McDonough214451
Saline202153
Douglas198733
Union197332
Shelby196435
Crawford175534
Cass174831
Bond173524
Warren158244
Pike154246
Richland153544
Wayne151143
Jo Daviess148224
Hancock147634
Clark147430
Washington144625
Edgar143253
Carroll142633
Ford138049
Moultrie137028
White133130
Clay130939
Greene125442
Johnson121015
Wabash117214
Mercer117029
Piatt116816
Mason116340
De Witt113927
Cumberland107927
Jasper103815
Massac101831
Menard87110
Hamilton71617
Marshall66413
Schuyler61916
Pulaski6103
Brown60811
Stark49320
Edwards4609
Henderson45216
Calhoun4384
Alexander3897
Gallatin3864
Scott3751
Putnam3462
Hardin3028
Pope2462
Unassigned990
Out of IL370

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 592709

Reported Deaths: 9340
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion818931301
Lake44495668
Allen32035543
Hamilton28533305
St. Joseph26847372
Elkhart24132341
Vanderburgh18759213
Tippecanoe17482122
Johnson14583285
Porter14464160
Hendricks13931242
Madison10600213
Vigo10513174
Clark10300132
Monroe9109108
Delaware8861133
LaPorte8825155
Howard7916138
Kosciusko788877
Warrick648290
Hancock642597
Bartholomew629294
Floyd6184105
Wayne5956157
Grant5848110
Dubois546172
Boone536367
Morgan519491
Henry496164
Marshall494984
Cass473160
Noble462157
Dearborn461344
Jackson416145
Shelby404279
Lawrence382075
Clinton366340
Gibson357856
DeKalb338563
Montgomery336651
Harrison332642
Knox328239
Miami311243
Steuben308742
Adams296535
Whitley295525
Wabash293945
Ripley293745
Putnam286847
Huntington285058
Jasper284434
White268438
Daviess262172
Jefferson253138
Decatur242882
Fayette242448
Greene235660
Posey232826
Wells230147
LaGrange224761
Clay218732
Scott217337
Randolph209041
Jennings193235
Sullivan189331
Spencer182717
Fountain180425
Washington178218
Starke172041
Jay163122
Fulton160230
Owen160137
Carroll153015
Orange152133
Rush150818
Perry148727
Vermillion145533
Franklin143833
Parke12908
Tipton128432
Pike114125
Blackford108022
Pulaski95137
Newton89721
Brown85730
Benton84510
Crawford7669
Martin70413
Warren6607
Switzerland6235
Union6145
Ohio4707
Unassigned0374