Dr. Anthony Fauci says likely coronavirus will become seasonal optimistic world is better prepared
The scientist, who leads research into infectious diseases at the National Institutes of Health and is on the White House coronavirus task force, as has been the face of reassurance during the pandemic in the U.S.
He told CBS Face The Nation that even when the virus is under control the world will need to prepared for a resurgence.
‘Unless we get this globally under control there is a very good chance that it’ll assume a seasonal nature.
Facui admitted that at the present time, the government is not ahead of the virus.
‘We are struggling to get it under control, and that’s the issue that’s at hand right now.’
Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks during a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House, Sunday, April 5
‘This next week is going to look bad because we’re still not at that apex,’ he said speaking specifically about New York.
‘Within a week, eight, nine days or so we’re hopefully going to see that turning around.’
Fauci said that people should continue to respect social distancing rules.
‘Every time I get to that podium in the White House briefing room, I plead with people to take a look at those very simple guidelines of physical separation.’
Fauci said Americans should prepare for the outbreak to ‘become seasonal’
Fauci also elaborated on how the virus could well make a return once winter comes noting how the virus was beginning to take root in the southern hemisphere, where winter is on its way.
‘What we’re starting to see now… in southern Africa and in the southern hemisphere countries, is that we’re having cases that are appearing as they go into their winter season,’ he said.
‘And if, in fact, they have a substantial outbreak, it will be inevitable that we need to be prepared that we’ll get a cycle around the second time.
Dr Fauci says the coronavirus is likely to become an infection that never goes away and causes seasonal outbreaks of illness
‘It totally emphasizes the need to do what we’re doing in developing a vaccine, testing it quickly and trying to get it ready so that we’ll have a vaccine available for that next cycle.’
‘Hopefully, if in fact we do see that resurgence, we will have interventions that we did not have in the beginning of the situation that we’re in right now,’ he said on to CBS News.
Fauci is optimistic saying he knows ‘we’ll be successful in putting this down now’, adding: ‘But we really need to be prepared for another cycle. And what we’re doing, I believe, will prepare us well.’
Other scientists agree. ‘This is going to be with us for some time,’ said Dr Amesh Adalja, a disease expert at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
He told Business Insider: ‘It’s endemic in human populations and not going to go away without a vaccine.’
There are currently two vaccines that have entered human trials – one in the US and one in China but they could be a year to a year-and-a-half away from deployment.
Even if they are successful, the virus could mutate and become completely different to what the vaccine is able to protect against.
This is the case for flu, which has so many strains that the vaccine must change every year to try and match the strains most likely to infect people at that time. It is never perfect or able to offer full protection.
Treatments are also being investigated – some new drugs and others that have been repurposed, including the antimalarials chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine.
‘I know we’ll be successful in putting this down now, but we really need to be prepared for another cycle,’ Fauci concluded.
Fauci’s comments suggesting the virus does better in colder weather than it does in hot and humid conditions follows a recent Chinese research paper – still preliminary and awaiting peer-review – that reached the same conclusion.
The reasons are thought to include that respiratory droplets remain airborne for longer in colder weather, and that cold weather weakens immunity.
Another potential reason is that viruses degrade more quickly on hotter surfaces, possibly because a protective layer of fat that envelops them dries out quicker.
But reduced infection rate does not mean the virus gets eliminated — Australia has had almost 5,700 confirmed cases and 35 deaths, for example.
‘If you look at other members of the coronavirus family, that are respiratory viruses and we’ve known about them for the last 50 years or more, they’re seasonal,’ Professor John Oxford, from Queen Mary University in London, told The Telegraph last month.
‘They’re just like the common cold. Whether Covid-19 will fit into that pattern or not, we will just have to wait and see but my guess is it will.’