During a round of press he did on Tuesday, White House health advisor Anthony Fauci referred to COVID-19 as his "worst nightmare," and warned that the world's fight against the pandemic is not nearly a wrap.
As Fauci put it, the virus is “something that’s highly transmissible. ... In a period—if you just think about it—in a period of four months, it has devastated the world.” He made those specific comments during an interview with the BIO Digital virtual health-care conference. But he also echoed them in the interview with Good Morning America that's embedded above.
“That’s millions and millions of infections worldwide. And it isn’t over yet. And it’s condensed in a very, very small time frame,” he added in his conference interview. “You know, first notice at the end of December, hit China in January, hit the rest of the world in February, March, April, May, early June.”
Fauci stated that, when asked in the past what his biggest fear was, he would reply that it would be a new respiratory infection, probably coming from an animal, that was highly transmissible.
In describing what makes this virus "very different" from other diseases (such as Ebola and HIV) Fauci pointed out the coronavirus' transmission speed, in tandem with a relatively high mortality rate.
“I mean, Ebola was scary. But Ebola would never be easily transmitted in a global way,” Fauci 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.”
“It’s a testimony to not only the extraordinary capability of transmission but of the extraordinary travel capability we have,” he added. “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.”
Though much of those comments are of the doom and gloom variety (I mean, he is talking about a pandemic), Fauci did strike an optimistic tone about the potential for a vaccine to be rolled out and dispersed in the near future. He said he was "very heartened" by the pharmaceutical industry's efforts, and stated that they "stepped up to the plate" more than what we saw with SARS in 2002-03.
The World Health Organization reports that, as of June 2, at least 124 potential vaccines were in development.
“The industry is not stupid. They figured it out,” Fauci added. “There’s going to be more than one winner in the vaccine field because we’re going to need vaccines for the entire world. Billions and billions of doses. So I’m almost certain that we’re going to have multiple candidates that make it to the goal line get approved and get widely used.”
At last check, more than 7 million people have been confirmed positive for the disease, and more than 400,000 have died worldwide.
As we already stated, the GMA embed above isn't what the quotes from this article are from, but he does speak on a lot of the same subjects. He also talks about that WHO official who incorrectly said it was extremely rare for asymptomatic people to spread the disease. That got walked back. He also talked about what cautions people should exercise when trying to get back to their normal lives. It's worth a watch, especially if you want to be up to date.