Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday that there are “glimmers of hope” that the United States soon might see the flattening of the curve of the coronavirus outbreak.
In an interview on “Today,” the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said he’s “cautiously optimistic” that the country might begin to see a “turnaround and that curve not only flatten but coming down.”
Still, Fauci warned people not to let up on mitigation efforts.
“We better be careful that we don’t say, ‘OK, we are doing so well we can pull back.’ We still have to put our foot on the accelerator when it comes to mitigation and that physical separation,” he said.
When co-host Savannah Guthrie asked whether people will be able to go back to normal by summer, Fauci responded, “I hope that’s the case.”
“The virus and how it responds determines the timetable. We can do things to influence that, and I think we are doing a good job,” he said.
“When you’re talking about getting back to normal, we know now that we can get hit by a catastrophic outbreak like this.”
Fauci added, “It can happen again, so we really need to be prepared to respond in a much more vigorous way.”
Fauci told Guthrie that because of the public’s mitigation efforts, it is “highly likely” that the coronavirus death toll will be “more like 60,000 than 100,000 to 200,000.”
Companies have been working to develop antibody blood tests to help determine how many people were exposed to and infected with COVID-19 but were asymptomatic, NBC News reported.
“It is likely, though we need to prove it, that once you’ve been infected and you have an antibody profile, that you are very likely protected against a subsequent challenge from the same virus, which means you may have a cohort of people who are actually protected, who have more of a chance of getting back into the normality of society,” Fauci said.
The results of these tests would be especially important for health care workers to know if they could be protected from the virus after exposure.
Although these tests might be available in the upcoming days and weeks, Fauci said it was unlikely to think of a scenario in which every American would be tested before going back to work.
The Federal Drug Administration approved the first coronavirus antibody test for use in the United States on April 2, according to The New York Times.
The test developed by Cellex delivers results in 15 minutes, but they are unlikely to yield positive results in the early days of infection.
On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance for “critical infrastructure workers” with criteria they must meet before they return to work and recommendations to follow once they do.
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