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Dr. Anthony Fauci offered another fresh, and contradictory, take on fears over the coronavirus pandemic.
As predictions of doom for reopening states have not panned out as feared, Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, now believes that a dreaded second wave of the contagious virus is not necessarily inevitable.
The medical expert and lead member of President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force told CNN in a new interview that he is feeling “better” about there not being another spike and outbreak of the pandemic which has claimed over 100,000 lives in the United States.
“It’s getting better and better, Jim. I’m feeling better about it as the weeks go by,” Fauci told CNN’s Jim Sciutto this week, citing more testing capabilities and how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is “putting more of a workforce out there.”
“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,” he continued. “Particularly when people start thinking about the fall, I want people to really appreciate that it could happen, but it is not inevitable.”
“If we do the kinds of things that we’re putting in place now to have the workforce, the system and the will to do the kinds of things that are the clear and effective — identification, isolation and contact tracing — we can prevent this second wave … if we do it correctly,” Fauci asserted, seeming to reverse his previous warnings.
Fauci was “convinced” that there would be a second wave of COVID-19 just a few weeks ago, making the assertion that appeared to contradict Trump’s contention in a White House press briefing that “it may not come back at all.”
“Before nobody knew about it. Nobody knew anything about it. Now, if we have pockets, a little pocket here or there, we’re going to have it put out. It goes out, and it’s going to go out fast. We’re going to be watching for it. But it’s also possible it doesn’t come back at all,” Trump said in April.
“We will have coronavirus in the fall,” Fauci countered. “I am convinced of that because of the degree of transmissibility that it has, the global nature. What happens with that will depend on how we’re able to contain it when it occurs.”
Dr. Fauci: “There will be coronavirus in the fall.” pic.twitter.com/yJCnYqchra
— The Hill (@thehill) April 23, 2020
The World Health Organization, which has been criticized for its own contradictory stances on the virus, warned this week that the first wave of outbreak is not over yet.
“Right now, we’re not in the second wave. We’re right in the middle of the first wave globally,” Dr. Mike Ryan, W.H.O. executive director, told reporters. “We’re still very much in a phase where the disease is actually on the way up.”
Fauci was criticized for an interview with CNBC recently where he now acknowledged that “staying locked down” for an extended time could cause “irreparable damage.”
“We can’t stay locked down for such a considerable period of time that you might do irreparable damage and have unintended consequences, including consequences for health,” he said, adding that “we are enthusiastic about reopening.”
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) May 23, 2020
Fauci’s remarks appeared to be a reversal of other comments when he urged stricter measures. In his testimony before a Senate committee, he warned that opening businesses too soon would “result in needless suffering and death.”
The sudden optimism on CNN about previous predictions for the fall was just another example of the flip-flopping messages from the doctor who gave repeated warnings about reopenings even as the president was advocating cautious first steps for states to begin to roll back restrictions on Americans.
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