July 27, 2021

Fauci: Government response pivoting to ending lockdowns after having to ‘shut down the planet’

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Yahoo Finance on Tuesday he continues to work with the White House coronavirus task force to focus on states reopening— including a meeting Tuesday with Vice President Mike Pence.

The nation’s top infectious disease expert is not yet breathing a sight of relief, but feels the U.S. has improved its response to the outbreak as states relax restrictions on public life — even as some concerns remain about regions seeing a new flare up of COVID-19 cases.

“Things that [officials] are concentrating on right now are how do we safely reopen,” he said. How do we get the cities, these towns, these counties to try to get sort some sort of normality to get the economy back. That’s most of what’s being discussed,” Fauci added.

On the topic of a vaccine, and whether or not one will be ready this year, Fauci said it is likely we will at least know if any work by the end of the year.

Yet distribution to the general public is unlikely until next year, despite rising expectations of a more immediate breakthrough.

“My prediction would be that we would have more than one candidate that ultimately gets to the point of proven to be safe and effective,” Fauci told Yahoo Finance.

A crowded field of over 100 companies are currently testing candidates, but only a handful have the most promise. However, there are fears that some countries may prioritize their own citizens if a treatment is found — an outcome Fauci downplayed.

“So I don’t think we’re going to have a situation where one country or one organization has a vaccine that they are not going to share with others,” he said.

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