Coronavirus: US could be in for 'bad fall and bad winter' as virus returns, warns Fauci

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Trump administration adviser said effective use of counter-measures 'will determine our fate'

World | The Independent

In a webinar event hosted by the Economic Club of Washington, DC, Trump administration coronavirus adviser Dr Anthony Fauci told an online audience that the US should prepare for the virus to return and hit hard later this year.

However, he also said he was “cautiously optimistic” that a vaccine for Covid-19 can be developed, and that provided measures put in place to limit the virus’s spread are adhered to, the worst effects of a winter resurgence can at least be mitigated.

“I’m almost certain it will come back,” he said, “because the virus is so transmissible, and it’s globally spread. Remember, all kinds of viruses like this when people are indoors and congregated in the cold dry weather, they tend to do better than when you’re in a warmer climate.

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“I don’t know whether that’s going to make a major difference here, but what we do know is that right now, as we start to stabilise, southern Africa, places like KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, and Cape Town and other places are starting to see the emergence of cases. So it’s not going to disappear from the planet.”

Whereas Donald Trump’s stated prediction is that the virus is going to “go away”, and that should it come back in the autumn the US will be equipped to “put out spurts”, Dr Fauci’s forecast for the later part of 2020 were much more cautious.

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“When we get into next season, in my mind it’s inevitable that we will have a return of the virus, or maybe that it never even went away. When it does, how we handle it will determine our fate.

“If by that time we have put into place all of the counter-measures that you need to address this, we should do reasonably well. If we don’t do that successfully, we could be in for a bad fall and a bad winter.”

Dr Fauci has lately been absent from the president’s coronavirus press briefings, where he had been a consistent presence for many weeks. His near-disappearance from the podium met with speculation that Mr Trump and some of his advisers had started to lose patience with their medical adviser's growing media profile, which he uses to correct and contradict the president’s various false, misleading and sometimes dangerous statements about the pandemic, the future of social distancing, the virus itself, and potential treatments.

Dr Fauci addressed the webinar just as the US crossed the milestone of 1 million reported coronavirus cases, with the overall death toll now higher than the total number of American fatalities in the Vietnam War.

  • Coronavirus: US could be in for 'bad fall and bad winter' as virus returns, warns Fauci photo


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