- Dr. Anthony Fauci said in a new interview that the novel coronavirus had “turned out to be my worst nightmare.”
- Fauci noted that the virus had spread more than other deadly diseases and still had a relatively high death rate.
- He said that it had “devastated the world” in a short time but that even though millions of people had already been infected, “it isn’t over yet.”
- Some countries are reopening even before getting their outbreaks under control, and many US states are still seeing new spikes in cases and hospitalizations from the virus.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
As various countries and US states move forward with reopening even before their coronavirus outbreaks are under control, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US’s top infectious-disease expert, has warned that the novel virus is his “worst nightmare” come true and “isn’t over.”
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, pointed to how easily the virus spread as well as its relatively high death rate as differentiating it from other deadly viruses.
In the interview, Fauci described the virus as “highly transmissible.”
“Now we have something that turned out to be my worst nightmare,” he said.
“In the period of four months, it has devastated the world.”
The virus has infected more than 7 million people and killed more than 400,000 globally, and it has plunged the world into unprecedented lockdowns that have stalled the global economy.
The way the virus spreads has made it “very different” from other outbreaks, he said.
“I mean, Ebola was scary. But Ebola would never be easily transmitted in a global way,” he said.
“HIV, as important as it is, was drawn out over an extended period of time. I mean, I think the ultimate impact of AIDS almost certainly will be greater than anything we’re talking about now.”
While the novel coronavirus appears to be less deadly than the Ebola virus or the SARS virus, it has become much more widespread.
The coronavirus, Fauci said, “took over the planet.”
“It’s a testimony to not only the extraordinary capability of transmission but of the extraordinary travel capability we have,” he said.
“I mean, it started in a very well-defined place in a city in China called Wuhan. And China is a big country. A lot of people travel all over the world. They travel to the United States. They travel to Europe.”
We’re ‘at almost the beginning of understanding’ COVID-19
Fauci noted that there had been “millions and millions of infections worldwide” since the virus was identified in Wuhan at the end of December.
“And it isn’t over yet,” he said.
He noted that there were still many unknowns about the virus, including the long-term effects of infection on patients.
He described experts as being “at almost the beginning of understanding” the virus.
The number of new coronavirus cases worldwide is going up, with a daily-record 136,000 infections recorded Sunday.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the World Health Organisation, said this week that the crisis was “far from over,” The New York Times reported.
Russia, for example, is lifting restrictions even as its infections increase.
At the same time, new countries appear poised to become epicenters, including in Latin America and the Caribbean.
In the US, 14 states and Puerto Rico just recorded their highest seven-day average of coronavirus cases since the outbreak began, according to data tracked by The Washington Post.
And nine states have reported increases in the number of people hospitalized over the virus since the end of May.
Hopes for a vaccine
Fauci also said that the response from the pharmaceutical industry had been “stellar” and that there would be “more than one winner in the vaccine field because we’re going to need vaccines for the entire world.”
He said, however, that he didn’t think price controls could be enforced before they were developed, as he said experience showed him that “if you try to enforce things on a company that has multiple different opportunities to do different things, they will walk away.”
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