Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testified today before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, voicing his concerns about what could happen if the United States doesn’t step up its COVID-19 response. Here are the biggest takeaways:
- Cases could keep spiking: Fauci told the Senate he “would not be surprised” if new coronavirus cases increased to 100,000 per day. That grave figure could become a reality if the country continued to flout recommended guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- We need to play the long game: He said that only focusing on the areas that have rising COVID-19 cases will not help in the long run.
- Mask up: Fauci, along with other health professionals, urged the public to continue to wear face coverings. CDC Director Robert Redfield told young people specifically that they are not exempt from wearing a mask. Top health officials also support distributing free masks to Americans.
- A new normal for schools: Fauci said schools should reopen per CDC guidelines and be open to modifying school schedules, alternating days, and even virtual lessons. He also suggested “pool testing“ a potential tool for public schools attempting to reopen in the fall.
Fauci pointed out that the country is already seeing 40,000 new cases per day, and he doesn’t see that caseload going down if outbreaks in different parts of the U.S. continue to increase. As for a vaccine, Fauci says that a safe and effective vaccine is not guaranteed, but experts are hopeful that doses will be available to the public by next year.