Dr. Anthony Fauci said Friday that he will assume the role of chief medical adviser to the White House in January.
During an appearance Friday on NBC’s “Today” show Fauci said, “I said ‘yes’ right on the spot” after Biden asked him to assume the post.
Will you accept President-elect Biden’s offer to serve as his chief medical adviser? –@SavannahGuthrie
Absolutely, I said yes right on the spot. -Dr. Anthony Fauci pic.twitter.com/lHr3z1v3vo
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) December 4, 2020
On Friday, Fauci recounted that he told Biden mask-wearing may be required for longer than a symbolic 100 days.
Fauci also said that a vaccine against the disease will begin making a difference as the new year dawns.
“As we get into January and February and March, more and more people will be able to get vaccinated. So now is the time to hang in there and not give up,” he said, Axios reported.
In a recent interview with The Washington Post, Fauci offered a mix of stern warnings and hope.
“If you look at the curves, we are in a very steep escalation of cases right now, in the mid-fall season. If you look at the slope of the increases in the early spring, that we had the northeastern part of the country dominated by the New York City metropolitan area, then we had the early-summer, mid-summer when we were trying to open up the country and the South dominated it,” he said.
“Now what we’re seeing, almost the entire map of the country is lighting up with the dark colors, which indicate increased test positivity, and the slope is like that.
“Which means that if, in fact, you are in a situation, when you do the things that are increasing the risk — the travel, the congregate setting, not wearing marks — the chances are that you will see a surge superimposed upon a surge, and you’re not going to see the results of that because things lag by a couple of weeks.
“So, what we’re seeing now is what happened two-plus weeks ago. What we are doing now is going to be reflected two, three weeks from now. So, what we want to make sure we don’t do, is as we enter into the more risky part of the year — weather gets colder, more people stay indoors — that you don’t exacerbate the problem that already exists,” Fauci added.
However, he said, “help is on the way.
“We have at least two highly efficacious vaccines that would likely start to be given to people at the highest risk and the highest priority towards the middle and end of December. As we get into the subsequent months, more and more people will be able to be vaccinated,” Fauci said.
He added that the approaching availability of a vaccine is “an incentive for people, despite the fact that we all have COVID fatigue, an incentive to double down and be even more conscientious about the public health measures that I’ve asked.”
Such measures include wearing masks, hand-washing, social distancing and a limit on gatherings in the home, according to Fauci.
“Because if help is on the way, you want to hang in there, not get infected, not infect your loved ones, because there is help that is close by and it will be getting better and better as the months go by. So that’s the message,” he said.
“If you possibly can, please hang in there with public health measures.”
But Fauci said that a gloomy scenario remains possible in which the death toll from the disease tops 300,000 Americans by the end of the year.
“So, the numbers can be stark, they can be sobering, and in many respects, they can be frightening, but we have the tools to prevent that from happening. It’s literally within our power to do that,” he said.
Fauci also pushed back against criticism of the vaccines that have been developed in record time.
“We’ve got to make sure we engage the community to realize that the decision about the safety and the efficacy of a vaccine and the speed with which we did it, the speed was based on very exquisite scientific advances and an enormous amount of resources that were put into Operation Warp Speed to make this happen,” he said. “There was no compromise of safety nor was there compromise of scientific integrity.”
“So, I know there’s been a lot of mixed messages that maybe have come out, but one needs to appreciate that this is a solid process,” Fauci added.
“So, when they say that the vaccine is safe and effective, if we want to protect the individual and all of our society, we should take the vaccine. And I can tell you, when my turn comes up, and the FDA says that this is safe and effective, I myself will get vaccinated and I will recommend that my family gets vaccinated.”
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