Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Briefing Room, Tuesday, March 24, 2020, in Washington, as Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, listens. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
During a White House press briefing on Monday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases gave another warning regarding the coronavirus outbreak. Only a day after stating that a worst-case scenario would see up to 200,000 Americans dying from the illness, he told reporters that the nation could experience another outbreak later this year.
When asked if the coronavirus could make a reappearance in the fall, Fauci replied, “I would anticipate that that would actually happen because of the degree of transmissibility.” But it wasn’t all doom and gloom. “Things are going to be very very different,” he added, indicating that the country would be better prepared should another outbreak occur.
“Our ability to go out and be able to test, identify, isolate, and contact trace will be orders of magnitude better than what it was just a couple of months ago,” he explained. During the same briefing, President Trump announced a new COVID-19 testing device that can deliver a patient’s results in under five minutes. Currently, it takes up to a week to receive results.
The new testing devices will be available in emergency rooms, doctor’s offices, and drive-through sites within a month, according to Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn. “Just like tests for flu or strep where you go to the doctor’s office so you can get a test done, you can get an answer within minutes of having this test done,” he said.
Dr. Fauci also indicated that medical centers could also have better treatments if the virus returns in the fall. Some of these medications are already in their clinical trial phases and will likely be ready to deploy by then.
Scientists are working on a vaccine, but it is expected that it will take at least one year to complete. “What we’re going through right now is going to be more than just lessons learned, it’s going to be things that we have available to use that we did not have before,” Fauci said.
The president also declared that the U.S. has tested over 1 million Americans for the coronavirus. He called this step “a milestone in our war against the coronavirus.”
The thought of another outbreak later this year might seem concerning – but the fact that the nation will be better positioned to deal with the virus is a positive sign. If the disease should return, it is unlikely that it will have the same impact on society that it is having at the moment.
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