Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Tuesday that social distancing efforts are starting to have an impact on the coronavirus pandemic. The respected immunologist and head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease spoke with CNN, where he revealed that while the number of confirmed cases in the United States continues to increase, the country may be not too far from the beginning of a turnaround.
Host Jim Sciutto asked how Americans should prepare in the coming weeks to address the coronavirus.
Fauci responded that as people know, there is “intensive mitigation” in the U.S. with people maintaining social distancing and self-quarantine measures.
“We’re starting to see glimmers that that is actually having some dampening effect,” Fauci said. “But that does not take away from the seriousness of what you’ve described on this show.”
He went on to say that while cases are increasing and New York state faces an intense challenge, the country is taking extreme steps to slow the spread of the disease.
“We are still in a very difficult situation. We hope, and I believe it will happen, that we may start seeing a turnaround, but we haven’t seen it yet,” Fauci said.
“We’re just pushing on the mitigation to hope that we do see that turnaround.”
The early signs that Fauci has spotted, he says, is that there are typical phases. Initially, the disease increases day by day and then levels off. A while later, you begin to see a decrease in deaths.
“You’re starting to see that the daily increases are not in that steep incline. They’re starting to be able to possibly flatten out,” he said.
He cautioned not to get too excited yet and said that the country should continue its intense efforts, but there is cause to be positive about the outlook. It’s still a critical time in battling COVID-19 and he cautioned that social distancing should remain in place until the end of April, as President Donald Trump recently recommended.
Fauci also explained that people who aren’t in the healthcare field may want to start wearing masks in the future, so long as medical workers still have enough supply to protect themselves. But, he said, the use of masks may have a positive impact to limit the spread of the disease. Still, he cautioned, this wouldn’t be his recommendation until the mask supply in the U.S. was at a stable level.