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23 Apr, 2020 03:06

Fauci ‘CONVINCED’ US should brace for return of coronavirus in fall, says scale depends on ‘response’

Fauci ‘CONVINCED’ US should brace for return of coronavirus in fall, says scale depends on ‘response’

A top member of the White House Covid-19 task force, Dr Anthony Fauci, said there is practically no chance the virus would leave the nation for good, predicting a resurgence in the fall which may overlap with the flu season.

“We will have coronavirus in the fall. I am convinced of that, because of the degree of transmissibility that it has, the global nature,” Fauci said at Wednesday's White House briefing, adding that while the next outbreak will be “complicated by influenza season,” the country will be “much, much better prepared to do the kind of containment compared to what happened to us this winter.”

Whether or not it’s going to be big or small is going to depend on our response… Nobody can predict what’s going to happen with an outbreak.

Earlier in the same briefing, Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), was asked to clarify comments given to the Washington Post for a recent article with a headline blaring “CDC director warns second wave of coronavirus is likely to be even more devastating.” Though Redfield said he was not misquoted in the story itself, he noted that its headline was “inappropriate” as he never suggested the next wave would be “devastating,” but rather “more difficult” to handle, with the virus coming back just in time for flu season.

“The issue I'm talking about, it being more ‘difficult’ in the second wave, is that we'll have two viruses circulating at the same time, whereas this time the flu season has ended so we can use all our flu surveillance system,” Redfield said.

The Post has yet to amend its headline.

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While US President Donald Trump repeatedly tried to mediate Redfield’s exchange with reporters, cutting in to stress that the virus may not return at all – or only in “smaller doses” that will be easy to contain – senior health officials were less optimistic. Like Fauci and Redfield, Dr Deborah Birx, coordinator for the White House task force, also warned there could be a “next time,” but reiterated that the US would be better prepared to deal with another wave of Covid-19.

Though the US remains the worst-affected nation amid the coronavirus pandemic, health officials have pointed to a falling number of infections across several major hotspots in the country, such as New York City and Detroit, suggesting the outbreak may be winding down. The virus has afflicted more than 800,000 people in the US, killing over 46,000, while sweeping lockdown measures imposed in dozens of states have put tens of millions of residents out of work.

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