The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Dr. Anthony Fauci, said on Wednesday that it is unlikely that coronavirus will ever be eradicated. However, efforts by officials and leaders can bring COVID-19 down to lower levels, he said in an interview with the TB Alliance. He said, "I don't really see us eradicating it," said Fauci, who is also the top official in the White House coronavirus task force.
With a combination of proper public health measures, a level of herd immunity, and a good vaccine, Dr. Fauci feels "cautiously optimistic" about getting the situation under control. He said that he was not certain about this happening soon, and that it may happen this year or the next, reported CNBC.
This comes at a time when US President Donald Trump claimed that the coronavirus would disappear even as experts and CDC warned that COVID-19 cases and deaths may rise this fall.
However, the virus is rapidly spreading across America, having infected more than 4.1 million in the country while killing more than 145,000 lives. Coronavirus cases hit a record high at over 279,700 and more than 7100 deaths on a single day, marking the highest death toll since April 21.
Unlike the SARS virus of 2002 which was contained, Dr. Fauci said that the novel coronavirus is very efficient in human to human transmission, with a variety of symptoms. Quite opposed to some expert opinion that the new virus will turn into something like the common cold, Fauci said it is most unlikely as the pathogen is unique.
He said he had never seen such a virus with so much broad range of symptoms. While most of the population only gets ill with very minor symptoms others get hospitalized for days with intensive care, ventilation.
On Tuesday, he recommended state officials to adopt mandatory mask policy. On Wednesday he said told the US officials that there was no "end in sight."
"Certainly we are not winning the game right now. We are not beating it," Dr. Fauci said. A day before he said that the epidemic will "get worse before it gets better."
However, he said he would not call for a nationwide shutdown, saying it would be "completely unsustainable, produce debilitating economic fallback and lead to catastrophic public health consequences."
Experts Support Fauci
In a letter supporting Fauci, about 3,500 experts such as former public health officials, scientists, and public health professionals called for leaders, the media and the public to reject the sidelining of science and silencing of scientists.
"Attempting to marginalize highly respected researchers such as Dr. Fauci is a dangerous distraction at a time when we most need voices like his," reads the letter.
This came after Peter Navarro, the White House trade adviser, wrote an op-ed criticizing Fauci in USA Today.