Fauci sees no near end to pandemic but expresses optimism for vaccine in 2021

The health experts will also implore Americans to return to the basics of mask wearing and social distancing

Updated: July 31, 2020 - 2:37pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Dr. Anthony Fauci told Congress on Friday that it's unclear when the coronavirus pandemic will end but expressed cautious optimism above having a vaccine next year.

“I believe, ultimately, over a period of time in 2021, that Americans will be able to get it,” Fauci, the country's top infectious disease expert, told a House panel about the vaccine.

Fauci, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, also said Americans should have widespread access to a vaccine within a reasonable time, once it's approved as safe and effective.

However, he made clear that there will be a priority list for who gets early vaccinations.

“I don’t think we will have everybody getting it immediately,” Fauci said.

Under direction from the White House, federal health authorities are carrying out a plan dubbed Operation Warp Speed to manufacture 300 million doses of a vaccine on a compressed timeline, according to the Associated Press

The panel, the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, is divided about how to reopen schools and businesses, mirroring divisions among Americans.

Committee Chairman Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., said the White House must come up with a comprehensive national plan to contain the virus.

The committee's top Republican, Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise, said the Trump administration has plans already on vaccines, testing, nursing homes and other coronavirus-related issues.

Fauci was joined by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention head Dr. Robert Redfield and Health and Human Services testing czar Adm. Brett Giroir.

“While it remains unclear how long the pandemic will last, COVID-19 activity will likely continue for some time,” they said in prepared testimony. 

The number of cases in the U.S. has spiked in recent weeks, particularly across the South and Southwest. The country now has more than 150,000 virus-related deaths.

 

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