Anthony Fauci, America’s chief infectious disease expert, promised that “cavalry is on their way” in the form of a coronavirus vaccine, but urged a major national effort of last resort to stop its spread.
Fauci was speaking at the White House Coronavirus Task Force’s first press briefing since July. He was joined by Vice President Mike Pence and Response Coordinator Deborah Birx, but there was no indication of Donald Trump or his controversial adviser Scott Atlas.
The task force broke its long silence as the virus reached new highs, infecting more than 158,000 Americans – and killing more than 1,100 – every day. The total number of dead now It stands at a quarter of a million. He accused Trump, who did not appear in public much and refuses to accept defeat in the election, of giving up the fight.
Task force members said they do not support a new national or school shutdown. But Fauci referred to the “unusually impressive” effectiveness of vaccines that Pfizer and Moderna had developed in clinical trials and told reporters that he wanted to “get rid of any notion that this was inappropriately rushed. That’s really solid.”
Fauci continued, “We are now, as the vice president said, telling you that help is on the way, and it has two sides. This means that we need to double public health measures while we wait for that help, which will be soon. We will be giving the vaccine doses to people with high priority.” At the end of December. “
We are not talking about locking down the country. We are not talking about closures. We’re talking about ramping up the simple public health measures we’re all talking about: wearing masks, fixing distance, avoiding congregation settings, and doing things to the extent we can outdoors versus indoors. If we do that, we will be able to delay things until the vaccine comes. “
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, added, “I’ve now used this analogy that cavalry is on the way. If you were in combat and your cavalry was on your way, don’t stop firing. You will keep advancing until the cavalry gets here, it is lost.” Want to keep fighting. “
The White House task force’s briefings on the coronavirus were occurring almost daily during the first wave of the virus in April, with Fauci and Birx becoming household names. But they fell over the summer as the president ran into the election campaign, becoming infected and increasingly mocked by Fauci. He’s brought in a new adviser, Atlas, who falsely attacked the science of face masks and state measures to reduce contagion.
Pence said Thursday’s briefing was at Trump’s request, but he did not ask any questions either about the virus or his boss’s refusal to acknowledge Biden’s election victory.
The task force acknowledged that injuries and hospitalizations were on the rise across the country. Pence acknowledged that the test-positive rate over the past 30 days has risen from 5% to 10%, and in some parts of the country is much higher. “These are more cases, faster than we’ve seen before,” added Birx, pointing to a graph.
But Pence also insisted that the country is better prepared in terms of PPE and other resources than it was at the start of the outbreak, as well as a system and kits to distribute the vaccine.
The Vice President said: “America has never been more prepared to fight this virus than we are today.” “The day after one of these vaccines is approved, we will ship the vaccines to the American people and within one day after that we will see those vaccines injected into the Americans.”
He added, “We are getting there, America.”
On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) urged Americans to avoid travel during the Thanksgiving holiday. Birx added her voice calling for “reducing friends and family gatherings where people meet and spread the virus without their knowledge. Every American needs to be vigilant at this moment because we know that when it is, we can mitigate this virus and stop its spread together.”
But Pence also ruled out the kind of mass corporate shutdown America saw in the spring. “President Trump wanted me to make it clear that our staff, this administration, and our president do not support another national shutdown, nor do we support school closures.”
This pointed note about schools came a day after New York officials announced that public schools would be closed again after the city’s positivity rate reached 3%.
Robert Redfield, director of the CDC, argued that schools could safely conduct personal guidance. He insisted, “They can do it safely, and they can do it responsibly. The injuries that we identified in schools, when they were assessed, were not acquired in schools. They were actually acquired in the community.”
Redfield added that the big threat in the transmission process is not “the public square, but family gatherings” where people feel comfortable and remove their masks.
Health Minister Alex Azar said that Pfizer will seek emergency use permission on Friday from the Food and Drug Administration for the Coronavirus vaccine. Application data and clinical trials will be reviewed by an independent board of scientists before approval is granted. Azar added, “Hope and help are on the way.”
Moderna is expected to file an application for emergency approval for its candidate vaccine in the coming weeks.