Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, told CBS Evening News host and editor-in-chief Norah O’Donnell that the United States must redouble its efforts to contain the coronavirus as we enter the fall months and winter.
“What we really need to do is double down on” preventative measures like social distancing and wearing masks, Fauci said in an interview on Wednesday. He noticed the coronavirusin 37 states, a worrying increase that affects more than three-quarters of the country.
“This is not a good sign because you are entering a cooler climate,”
“They look very simple, but people don’t and that’s why we have an increase in cases,” he said.
The surge could get worse as families across the country travel and get together for the holiday season. Fauci said some beloved traditions, such as large Thanksgiving gatherings, may need to be avoided this year to keep people safe.
“Unfortunately, this is a risk when there are people from outside the city who come together in an internal environment,” he said. “It’s a shame, because this is such a sacred part of American tradition – the family reunion around Thanksgiving. But that’s a risk.”
Asked what his advice would be for Americans planning their November vacation, Fauci said they should evaluate the status of cases across the country.
“Given the fluid and dynamic nature of what is happening right now in the spread and increase of infections, I think people should be very careful and cautious in social gatherings, particularly when family members may be at risk. because of their age or their underlying condition, “he said, adding,” you may have to grit your teeth and sacrifice that social encounter, unless you’re pretty sure the people you’re dealing with aren’t infected . “
He said his family’s Thanksgiving “will look very different this year.” He shared that his children, who live in three different states, have decided not to return home to protect his health, as at 79 he is considered to be at higher risk.
“They themselves, due to their concern for me and my age, have decided that they will not go home for Thanksgiving, even though all three of them are very keen to go home for Thanksgiving.”
“Very satisfied” with President Trump’s recovery
Fauci, longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, also spoke about President Trump’s recent diagnosis and recovery of COVID-19.
“We are very, very satisfied” with how Mr. Trump is doing, he said. But he warned that not all of thosehe will be so lucky.
After testing positive for the coronavirus earlier this month, the president received a series of aggressive and experimental treatments at Walter Reed Medical Center and declared himself “cured.” Fauci reiterated Wednesday that there is no cure for COVID-19.
Upon his return to the White House, Trump urged supporters not to be afraid of the virus or to let it “dominate” their lives – an approach Fauci does not embrace.
“It’s kind of like saying that someone is accelerating in a car at 95mph and hasn’t had an accident, so I can go ahead and accelerate without crashing. There’s a lot of variability,” Fauci said. “We are very, very happy that the president did so well when he was infected with the coronavirus, but there are also many people who are.which did not go as well as the president did. The president was lucky. “
Fauci said he spoke to Mr. Trump last week but did not comment on what they discussed. He said he didn’t speak to the president’s Democratic rival, Joe Biden.
The White House said on Monday that President Trump has tested negative several times and has resumed a busy travel schedule with demonstrations in Florida, Iowa and Pennsylvania. His swift return to the election campaign involved some experts, who warned he could endanger those around him and his own recovery. Fauci said Wednesday he signed the president’s attendance at an NBC city hall Thursday night after reviewing the “entirety” of the COVID-related tests the president has taken.
“I, and one of my colleagues who is very well versed in this, Dr. Cliff Lane, have come to the conclusion – I certainly think correctly – that he does not threaten to pass the virus on to anyone else,” Fauci said. Asked if the president is endangering the people traveling with him at this point, Fauci said, “The answer is no, it isn’t.”
Asked ofFauci said, “Absolutely, for sure, it happens,” but noted that so far only anecdotal evidence exists and experts don’t know how common it is.
About 10,000 people are expected to attend a Trump campaign rally in a hangar at Des Moines, Iowa airport on Wednesday evening. “Do you consider that kind of event dangerous?” O’Donnell asked.
Fauci said his general advice should answer this question: “When people are close to each other and you don’t have practically everyone wearing a mask, this is a risky situation that could very well lead to the type of events. shedding we have seen in similar environments. “
He previously identified the White House ceremony for Supreme Court candidate Amy Coney Barrett as a “super-popular” event. At least 24 people in Trump’s orbit, many of whom attended the ceremony, tested positive for COVID-19. Fauci said on Wednesday: “I think the data has shown me to be correct.”
He also said in the interview that voting in person on election day should be reasonably safe if social distancing precautions are followed, although those at higher risk should consider voting by mail.
Portions of Norah O’Donnell’s interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci will air on “CBS Evening News” Wednesday at 6:30 pm. ET on CBS and at 10pm ET on CBSN.