(CNN)Dr. Anthony Fauci threw an abysmal first pitch to kick off the historic 2020 Major League Baseball season. But fans of the renowned disease expert clearly don’t mind.
(CNN)Dr. Anthony Fauci threw an abysmal first pitch to kick off the historic 2020 Major League Baseball season. But fans of the renowned disease expert clearly don’t mind.
Dr. Anthony Fauci (R), director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, participates in the daily coronavirus task force briefing at the White House on April 22, 2020 in Washington, DC.
Drew Angerer | Getty Images
White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said Monday he is “not particularly concerned” about the safety risk of a potential coronavirus vaccine by Moderna, despite the fact that it uses new technology to fight the virus.
The vaccine, which entered a large phase-three human trial Monday, uses messenger ribonucleic acid, or mRNA molecules, to provoke an immune response to fight the virus. Scientists hope mRNA, which relays genetic instructions from DNA, can be used to train the immune system to recognize and destroy the virus. While early studies show promise, mRNA technology has never been used to make a successful vaccine before.
“It’s a novel technology. We are certainly aware of the fact that there’s not as much experience with this type of platform as there are with other standards,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told reporters on a conference call alongside National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins.
“I’m not particularly concerned,” Fauci said. “But I don’t want a lack of severe concern to get in the way that we are keeping an open mind to look for any possible deleterious effects as we get into and through the phase-three trial.”
Scientists could know whether a potential coronavirus vaccine by Moderna works as early as October but will likely have the full results by November, Fauci said.
Moderna, which is working in collaboration with the NIH, announced earlier in the day that it began its late-stage trial for its vaccine. The trial will enroll at least 30,000 participants across at least 87 locations, according to ClinicalTrials.gov. Participants in the experimental arm will receive a 100 microgram dose of the potential vaccine on the first day and another 29 days later. Some patients will receive a placebo.
If approved by the Food and Drug Administration, Moderna’s experimental vaccine would be the first of its kind. Researchers will follow participants after the phase-three trial for one year to monitor the vaccine’s potential safety risks and two years to monitor its efficacy, Fauci said.
Fauci said he hopes the vaccine will have an efficacy of at least 60%, meaning on average the vaccine reduces a person’s risk of a Covid-19 infection by 60%. “Obviously, we would like to see it much, much higher. But 60% is the standard that you do for the cutoff. That’s not unusual,” he said. “I would like to see the highest percentage that we could possibly get.”
Fauci touted the potential vaccine as a huge achievement, saying the time it took from getting the virus’ genetic sequence to a phase-three trial was a record for the United States.
The comments by Fauci came days after he said a coronavirus vaccine likely won’t be “widely available” to the American public until “several months” into 2021.
Public health officials and scientists expect to know whether at least one of the numerous potential Covid-19 vaccines in development is safe and effective by the end of December or early next year, he said during a live Q&A with The Washington Post on Friday.
“It is likely that at the beginning of next year we would have tens of millions of doses available,” Fauci said, adding that some drugmakers have predicted more doses than that. “I think as we get into 2021, several months in, that you would have vaccines that would be widely available.”
Though scientists expect to have an effective vaccine widely available by next year, there is never a guarantee. While drugmakers are racing to make millions of doses of vaccines, there’s a chance the vaccine will require two doses rather than one, potentially further limiting the number of people who can get vaccinated once a vaccine becomes available, experts say.
Moderna said it remains on track to deliver between 500 million and 1 billion doses per year starting next year.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci attends the daily coronavirus briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on April 09, 2020 in Washington, DC. U.S. unemployment claims have approached 17 million over the past three weeks amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Alex Wong | Getty Images
White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said he hasn’t thought about resigning despite criticism in recent days from President Donald Trump and other administration officials about his response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, said he told the White House he found it “bizarre” and thought the administration made a “big mistake,” but his job is too critical to quit now, according to an interview in “The Atlantic” magazine published Wednesday. Almost 3.5 million Americans have contracted Covid-19 so far and at least 136,400 have died from the virus, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
“I think the problem is too important for me to get into those kinds of thoughts and discussions,” he said, according to an edited transcript of the interview. “I just want to do my job. I’m really good at it. I think I can contribute. And I’m going to keep doing it.”
Fauci was appointed director of NIAID in 1984 and has worked under six U.S. presidents.
The comment by Fauci came amid claims that the White House is seeking to discredit the top infectious disease expert as the coronavirus continues to rapidly spread across the U.S. In a scathing op-ed published Tuesday, Trump’s trade advisor Peter Navarro criticized Fauci, saying he “has been wrong about everything I have interacted with him on.”
The president has also been critical of Fauci recently. During an interview Thursday with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Trump said, “Dr. Fauci’s a nice man, but he’s made a lot of mistakes.
“They’ve been wrong about a lot of things, including face masks,” he said. “Maybe they’re wrong, maybe not. A lot of them said don’t wear a mask, don’t wear a mask. Now they’re saying wear a mask. A lot of mistakes were made, a lot of mistakes.”
Fauci told “The Atlantic” he doesn’t know why he’s been criticized recently, adding that he stands by everything he said about the pandemic.
“Contextually, at the time I said it, it was absolutely true … [The White House document] is totally wrong. It’s nonsense. It’s completely wrong. The whole thing is wrong. The whole thing is incorrect,” he said.
Savannah Behrmann, USA TODAY
Published 10:28 p.m. ET July 6, 2020 | Updated 12:30 p.m. ET July 7, 2020
Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks to how personal responsibility and social distancing is the key to ending the spread of the coronavirus.
WASHINGTON – Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Monday that the U.S. handle on the coronavirus outbreak is “really not good” and that action is needed to curb the spread.
In an interview via Facebook Live, the nation’s top infectious disease expert said, “We are still knee-deep in the first wave of this. And I would say, this would not be considered a wave. It was a surge, or a resurgence of infections superimposed upon a baseline.”
New cases in the USA have reached record highs, climbing to about 50,000 a day. Nearly 3 million Americans have contracted the virus, and more than 130,000 have died, according to data from John Hopkins University.
Fauci, speaking online with the National Institutes of Health, linked the surge in part to cities and states that may have reopened too quickly.
“A series of circumstances associated with various states and cities trying to open up in the sense of getting back to some form of normality has led to a situation where we now have record-breaking cases,” Fauci said in the chat with NIH Director Francis Collins.
According to John Hopkins University, at least 32 states report higher rates of new cases this week compared with prior periods.
“The European Union as an entity, it went up and then came down to baseline,” Fauci said. “Now they’re having little blips, as you might expect, as they try to reopen. We went up, never came down to baseline, and now it’s surging back up. So it’s a serious situation that we have to address immediately.”
Fauci warned Congress last week that new coronavirus infections could increase to 100,000 a day if the nation doesn’t get its surge of cases under control.
The White House Coronavirus Task Force has all but halted public briefings, and President Donald Trump’s administration has offered conflicting messaging on everything from the existence of the surge to how individuals should respond.
Trump claimed during his Fourth of July remarks that 99% of coronavirus cases are “totally harmless.”
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The U.S. is “not in total control” of the coronavirus pandemic and daily new cases could surpass 100,000 new infections per day if the outbreak continues at its current pace, White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday.
The country is now reporting nearly 40,000 new coronavirus cases every day — almost double from about 22,800 in mid-May — driven largely by outbreaks in a number of states across the South and West. Fauci said about 50% of all new cases are coming from four states: Florida, California, Texas and Arizona.
“I can’t make an accurate prediction but it’s going to be very disturbing,” Fauci told senators in a hearing held by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. “We are now having 40-plus-thousand new cases a day. I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around, and so I am very concerned.”
The number of new cases reported each day in the U.S. is now outpacing April, when the virus rocked Washington state and parts of the Northeast, especially the New York City metropolitan area.
The U.S. averaged 39,750 new cases per day over the past seven days as of Monday, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. That average has risen by more than 40% compared with a week ago. As of Tuesday morning, the seven-day average of daily new cases reported rose by more than 5% week over week in 40 states, according to the data.
Fauci’s comments came in response to a question from Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts, who asked whether the U.S. is heading in the right direction in terms of controlling the outbreak.
“Well I think the numbers speak for themselves,” Fauci said. “I’m very concerned and I’m not satisfied with what’s going on because we’re going in the wrong direction if you look at the curves of the new cases, so we really have got to do something about that and we need to do it quickly.”
Outbreaks in states like Florida and Texas also threaten to disrupt the progress states like New York and New Jersey have so far made in driving down the outbreak in the Northeast, Fauci said. New York, New Jersey and Connecticut last week announced they would mandate 14-day quarantines for any travelers coming from a states with rapidly expanding outbreaks. Nonetheless, Fauci said increased infection anywhere in the country threatens to spread everywhere.
“I guarantee you that because when you have an outbreak in one part of the country, even though in other parts of the country they’re doing well, they are vulnerable,” Fauci said. “I made that point very clearly last week at a press conference. We can’t just focus on those areas that are having a surge, it puts the entire country at risk.”
The outbreaks might be partly driven by states that reopened too soon and might have disregarded some of the federal guidance meant to help states restart safely, Fauci said.
“We’ve got to make sure that when states start to try to open again, they need to follow the guidelines that have been very carefully laid out with regard to checkpoints,” Fauci said earlier Tuesday. He added that some states might be “going too quickly” with regard to reopening and “skipping over some of the checkpoints.”
While much of the country was still shutdown in April, the White House published guidance to help states reopen businesses and parts of society to try to avoid a major resurgence of the virus. The guidance included recommendations like waiting to reopen until daily new cases steadily fall for 14 days, ramping up testing and contact tracing, and increasing hospital capacity.
However, the guidance was not mandatory and a number of the first and most aggressive states to reopen have since seen daily new cases spiral into full-fledged outbreaks, prompting officials to pause or reverse reopening efforts. Fauci added that it’s not just states that reopened early with outbreaks. In other states, expanding outbreaks could indicate that the public is not heeding public health precautions such as mask wearing and physical distancing.
Even in states where governors and mayors “did it right with the right recommendations, we saw visually in clips and in photographs of individuals in the community doing an all-or-none phenomenon, which is dangerous,” he said. “By all or none I mean, either be locked down or open up in a way where you see people at bars not wearing masks, not avoiding crowds, not paying attention to physical distancing.”
The “disregard of recommendations” that public health officials and scientists have made in response to the pandemic needs to be addressed, Fauci said. He urged people to follow the guidelines, practice physical distancing and wear a mask.
“I think the attitude of pushing back from authority and pushing back on scientific data is very concerning,” Fauci said. “We’re in the middle of catastrophic outbreak and we really do need to be guided by scientific principles.”
Fauci was responding to a question from Sen. Patty Murray, a Democrat from Washington, who said “we do not have enough tests and we do not have enough contact tracers.”
Fauci has previously said some states are not conducting enough testing for the size of the outbreak they are dealing with and that contact-tracing efforts in the U.S. “is not going well.”
Contact tracing occurs when trained personnel contact infected people to investigate how they got Covid-19 and who they might have passed it to. Along with widespread testing and the ability to isolate potentially infectious people, tracing is an age-old public health intervention that is now being ramped up at an unprecedented scale.
“To just say you’re going to go out and identify, contact trace and isolate, that doesn’t mean anything until you do it,” Fauci told CNBC’s Meg Tirrell last week. “Not checking the box that you did it, but actually do it. Get people on the ground. Not on the phone. When you identify somebody, have a place to put them to get them out of social interaction.”
June 10, 2020 | 6:54pm | Updated June 11, 2020 | 9:15am
Dr. Anthony Fauci blasted the World Health Organization Wednesday, saying an official at the international health agency was dead wrong when she claimed it was “very rare” for an infected person to transmit the deadly bug to a healthy person.
“What happened the other day is that a member of the WHO was saying that transmission from an asymptomatic person to an infected person was very rare,” Fauci said on “Good Morning America.” “They walked that back because there’s no evidence to indicate that’s the case.”
“And in fact, the evidence that we have, given the percentage of people, which is about 25, 45 percent of the totality of infected people, likely are without symptom,” he said. “And we know from epidemiological studies that they can transmit to someone who is uninfected, even when they’re without symptoms.”
“So, to make a statement, to say that’s a rare event, was not correct, and that’s the reason why the WHO walked that back.”
At issue is a comment made Monday by Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, who said transmission from COVID-19 patients to uninfected people was unlikely.
“From the data we have, it still seems to be rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual,” Van Kerkhove said during a press briefing in Geneva.
But Van Kerkhove had to back away from the statement Tuesday after coming under fire.
“So, estimates of around 40 percent of transmission may be due to asymptomatic (cases), but those are from models,” she said at a follow-up press conference. “So, I didn’t include that in my answer yesterday but wanted to make sure that I made that clear.”
Fauci, President Trump’s infectious disease expert, told “GMA” that the coronavirus is “a very unusual infection” that remained dangerous as areas around the country and the world begin to ease lockdown restrictions.
“The range of manifestations are extraordinary,” he said. “You can have people who are infected and have no symptoms. You can have people who are infected and have mild symptoms they barely notice. Others have more severe symptoms.”
He said a vaccine for the virus could be available by the end of this year or early next year.
June 9, 2020 | 6:00pm | Updated June 9, 2020 | 11:39pm
President Trump’s infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci on Tuesday called the coronavirus his “worst nightmare” and warned that the fight against its spread is far from over.
The bleak outlook from Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, comes as the US continues to slowly reopen from lockdown while grappling with massive protests in cities over the police killing of George Floyd.
“In a period of four months, it has devastated the whole world,” Fauci said during a virtual appearance at a conference held by Biotechnology Innovation Organization. “And it isn’t over yet.”
Fauci added that there is still a world of uncertainty around the virus and how it spreads and impacts the body. He said COVID-19 is much more complex than HIV, a virus he spent his career studying, because of the varying levels of seriousness in infections — from asymptomatic carriers to patients who develop fatal conditions.
“Oh my goodness,” Fauci added. “Where is it going to end? We’re still at the beginning of really understanding.”
Fauci said vaccines will be the only way to stop the spread of the coronavirus though he did express confidence that an antidote is in the works.
He expects “more than one winner in the vaccine field because we will need vaccines for the entire world — billions and billions of doses,” he said.
“I’m very heartened by the fact that the industry has stepped to the plate — very much differently than what we saw with SARS,” Fauci said. “The industry is not stupid — they figured it out. SARS had a degree of transmissibility that it burned itself out with pure public health measures. No way is that going to happen with this virus.”
COVID-19 shines a “bright light” on the health disparities in the US, Fauci added. And as the US climbs out of its public health crisis, Fauci said resources must be focused on the most vulnerable communities, namely African Americans, who because of a variety of factors — including socioeconomic and employment — have been hit “getting hit with a double whammy” from the virus.
“[African Americans] have a greater proportion of jobs that don’t allow them to sit in front of a computer and do telework. They’re out there. they’re doing a lot of things physically where you to have interact,” Fauci said.
The nation’s top coronavirus expert also warned against trying to implement price controls on manufacturers of vaccines.
“As much as you’d like to see fair pricing,” you can’t force a price,” he said, reasoning that companies would simply walk away if faced with a price-control on vaccines.
“It’s a profit-driven industry,” Fauci went on, adding that companies “will in good faith make it available to those groups, countries, nations that really can’t afford it very well.”
The question of whether to reopen schools in the fall has a “complicated answer” and the decision will depend on the coronavirus’ transmission in certain regions of the U.S., White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Friday.
“It has to be a bit of a — and I don’t mean lengthwise — a bit of a complicated answer, because the United States is a large country,” he said during an interview Friday on CNBC’s “Halftime Report.”
“When you’re talking about getting back to a degree of normality and school openings and things like that, it’s always related to the level of activity of the virus,” he said.
For instance, the level of virus transmission near cities such as Casper, Wyoming, will likely be much different from that of other metropolitan areas, he said, and the decision to reopen schools shouldn’t be a “uni-dimensional judgment.”
“There are varying degrees of infection activity depending upon the region, the state, the city, the town and the county,” he said.
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the number of cases has plateaued and is coming down as a nation overall. However, there are certain regions where there are blips in infections.
“In general, things tend to be going in the right direction,” he said. “There are some areas that are doing better than others and others that are doing worse,” he said.
As states eye reopening schools and universities across the U.S. this fall, some health experts are concerned that gathering students could cause increased transmission of Covid-19, although younger people are considered to be at lower risk of serious illness.
New infections will begin to creep up in the fall and winter months, Fauci said. However, a second wave of infections later this year is preventable, he said.
“It’s in the way we and the efficiency and effectiveness in which we put the manpower, the systems, the tests to identify, isolate and contact trace, that will determine how successful we are in preventing that wave,” he said.
On Thursday, Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, told members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions during a hearing that college campuses across the country will see new coronavirus cases whenever they do reopen, regardless of what they do to prevent an outbreak.
Benjamin said that if a school is unable to conduct adequate testing, it “can’t function at all.”
“All the current evidence shows that we will continue to have undetected, broad community spread of Covid-19 and will continue to do so for many months to come,” he said.
In May, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, told CNBC that schools should try to have in-person classes in the fall if the spread of the coronavirus isn’t rampant.
“I do think we’re going to have to contend with Covid going into the fall, but it might not be in September,” said Gottlieb, a CNBC contributor who sits on the boards of Pfizer and biotech company Illumina.
“It might occur later into the fall, and we should at least make an attempt to open the schools if this isn’t spreading widely,” he said.
— CNBC’s Kevin Stankiewicz contributed to this report.
Anthony “Lionheart” Smith scored an impressive submission win over Alexander Gustafsson in his most recent bout after competing for the light heavyweight title. Smith faces Glover Teixeira in the main event of the Fight Night event on Wednesday, May 13.
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