Dr. Anthony Fauci spoke remotely with CNN on Wednesday, and the respected immunologist said that he’s feeling better about the United States’ ability to handle that novel coronavirus pandemic. So much so, he says, that he thinks the country could escape a long-predicted second wave of the virus in the fall.
Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Jim Sciutto that improved testing and contact tracing means that the country is more prepared to prevent a resurgence of the disease that has so far claimed the lives of over 100,000 people in the U.S. and 351,000 worldwide.
“It’s getting better and better, Jim. I’m feeling better about it as we go by with the weeks that go by, and we see that we’re getting more and more capability of testing,” he said. “The CDC is putting more of a workforce out there to help us do the kinds of identification, isolation, and contact tracing. I feel better and better that we’re capable of doing that.”
But, he cautioned, that doesn’t mean that Americans can let their guard down. He cautioned that some areas that have opened potentially too early need to be watched carefully for a resurgence since it takes a few weeks for the effect to be felt.
If the public continues to follow state and federal guidelines, he says that the second wave that many expect might not happen after all.
“We often talk about the possibility of a second wave, or of an outbreak when you reopen. We don’t have to accept that as an inevitability,” Fauci said.
“I want people to really appreciate that it could happen, but it is not inevitable,” he said.
In the past, Fauci has said that a second wave of the disease is highly likely. Back in April, he said that a resurgence was “inevitable” and that how the country dealt with the situation would make all the difference in how bad the return would be.
During the interview, Fauci also addressed the mask controversy, saying that he chooses to wear a mask because it is effective against the spread of the disease and it’s a symbol that shows a sign of respect to other people, as a second clip from CNN shows.
President Donald Trump has pushed against the use of masks, refusing to wear one and mocking one journalist who refused to remove their mask as trying to be politically correct.