White House coronavirus advisor Anthony Fauci said on July 31 that the coronavirus is so contagious it won’t likely ever completely go away.
“I do not believe it would disappear because it’s such a highly transmissible virus,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told a House Select Subcommittee hearing on containing the Covid-19 outbreak.
The renowned and highly respected doctor's testament directly contradicted statements made by President Donald Trump who has repeatedly said Covid-19 will eventually vanish.
Covid-19 deaths could rise in next few months
The president’s remarks about the virus disappearing eventually came amid warnings from health experts that Covid-19 cases and deaths could rise this fall.
The warning was also issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
No guarantee of vaccine being found
Fauci also said there’s never a guarantee scientists will discover a safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine, though he’s “cautiously optimistic”.
Fauci has previously said it’s possible world leaders and public health officials could work to bring the pandemic down to “low levels.”
Need to shut down non-essential businesses
Fauci also said the U.S. has so many cases because some states did not shut down early in the outbreak, while others reopened too soon.
He said other countries were able to eliminate their first wave of outbreaks after shutting down at least 90 per cent of their non-essential businesses.
“In the attempt to reopen in some situations states did not abide strictly by the guidelines that the task force and the White House has put out. And others that even did abide by it, the people in the state actually were congregating in crowds and not wearing masks,” he said on Friday.
“I think there was such a diversity of response in this country from different states that we really did not have a unified bringing everything down,” he said.
The coronavirus emerged about seven months ago.
It has infected more than 17 million people and killed at least 673,822, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
The U.S. has more than 4 million cases and at least 152,075 deaths as of July 31, according to Hopkins data, rendering it the country with the worst outbreak in the world.
Top photo via livestream of House Select Subcommittee on Coronavirus Crisis testimony