Dr. Anthony Fauci joined host Dr. Marc Siegel during a special edition of SiriusXM Doctor Radio’s “Doctor Radio Reports” where he discussed the manufacturing risk being taken in the development of a vaccine, the questionable seasonality of the virus, the need for better COVID-19 screening, reopening schools and universities this fall, keeping an eye on states bordering hotspot states, whether or not states will have to go into lock down mode again, and more.
All audio clips are below with transcriptions. Credit SiriusXM Doctor Radio & NYU Langone Health.
To hear the full interview, tune in to SiriusXM Doctor Radio, channel 110 on Friday at 2pm ET.
Dr. Anthony Fauci Weighs On The Questionable Seasonality Of The COVID-19 Virus
“Well, I wouldn’t say it’s off the table, but I think it’s pretty clear Marc, that for the people who expected to see a sharp decline in the number of cases as the weather became warm and moist, I think we’re seeing that that’s absolutely not the case. I mean, look at Florida.
I mean, it’s a warm state right now, particularly in the summer, it’s certainly very humid and they’re getting hit really badly in their attempts to open up where they’ve had a rebound of cases that had essentially breaking records with regard to the number of cases per day. So, there may be some degree of seasonality buried in their Marc, but we certainly are not noticing it given what’s going on right now, as we enter the very warm part of our season.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci Weighs In On America’s Current COVID-19 Infection Situation
“People asked about, are we concerned about the second wave? And I keep telling people, what are you talking about a second wave? We are actually knee-deep in the first wave. We’ve never really gotten out of it because if you look at the numbers as a country, again the thing that confuses people, not only in our own country, but throughout the world, we have a very large country, and it is very heterogeneous.
The New York metropolitan area is very, very different from Casper, Wyoming or a town in Montana or a city in the Southwest. So things happen at different paces and different things really evolve. New York City, the metropolitan area got hit really very badly. There was a period of time back then, you remember Marc when about 50% of all the cases and the deaths were being seen in the metropolitan area of New York.
Now, New York has done very well. They’ve got their cases down, their hospitalizations down, their deaths way down, and they’re doing well now and gradually progressing from the gateway to one phase to another phase. And they’re doing it with caution, and I believe that they will be successful. What we’re seeing now in some of the Southern States that you really had kind of variability in how it was handled.
Some States actually decided to open up, but did it probably prematurely and not adhering to the guidelines of a gateway to phase one to phase two. Other states actually did it well, but the people in the state took an all or none attitude. They went from being locked down to being in a situation where it was devil may care.
And you could see that from the clips of people standing crowded at bars, crowded in areas where they should be physically distanced and not wearing masks. When you do that, and you have a degree of viral dynamics in the community what’s going to happen is predictable. And that’s exactly what we’re seeing in some of the Southern States where they’re breaking records with regard to the number of daily cases that they’re seeing.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci Weighs In On The U.S. Government’s Reopening Phases & Ponders Whether Or Not They Should Have Been Written Differently
“Whenever you make decisions about the kinds of guidelines and the kind of guideposts you’re going to put up. I mean, if things don’t work exactly the way you would see, obviously the answer to the question is maybe you should have done it a little bit different. Maybe you should have talked it a little bit different. I mean, obviously we continue to look at the guidelines as they were originally put out and a lot of thought was put into it. I think it was less of a problem with the guidelines themselves, then what the response to the guidelines were.
Namely some states, some cities actually did not adhere to that step by step fashion of going from a gateway, the number of days of cases going down to go to the first phase, the second phase, the third phase. Right now, what you do learn is that one of the real problems is the congregation in bars. People lined up two or three deep at a bar in an indoor place with air conditioners circulating. Those are the kinds of things when you’re in a crowd, particularly it’s unlikely that you’re going to be wearing a mask as you’re drinking.
So people don’t have their masks on, and that’s a real vulnerable area.. the bars. So we need to look at the kinds of recommendations at whatever phase you’re at about the opening of bars and the crowding at bars, in addition to indoor dining. The one thing that we’ve learned now from this, and we learn more and more every week, every month is that outdoors is always better than indoors. And that’s the reason why the thing that came up first was outdoor dining and spacing of tables.
But if you’re going to do anything, you’re going to have a gathering where a mask, try to stay distant and if you possibly can do it outdoors rather than indoors.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci Talks About The Need For Broader COVID-19 Screening, So That We Can Get Better Infection Data
Host, Dr. Marc Siegel:
“This emerging pandemic, which is not going away, which is over 3 million cases in the United States. But Tony, I’m assuming you think it’s way more than that also. Correct?”
“Well, you know, the CDC has come out with saying that it’s very likely that we are not aware of even a fact or more of cases. So it likely is more. Again, I think what we do need is better screening, broader screening in the country to get a feel for really what the penetrance of this infection is.
It’s felt that anywhere between 20-45% of the cases are asymptomatic. That always complicates the issue Marc, because you really do not know what the full extent of the infection spread is when you’re dealing with such a substantial percentage of asymptomatic infections.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci Shares His Thoughts On Reopening Schools & Universities This Fall
“First of all the statement, which is true, that if you keep children out of school, the unintended negative ripple effect consequences can be profound with regard to what do the parents do that they then stay off of work to be able to take care of their children? What about childcare? What about children who rely on schools for their lunch for maybe the most important nutritional meal that they’ll get?
So the broad approach would be obviously, but paying attention to the safety of the children, which is always paramount, but within the context of doing whatever you can to safeguard the health and the welfare of the children, we should try to get the schools open.
And that’s one of the things that was brought up at the press conference today that we should try our very best to maintain getting these schools open because of the potential and real negative effects of closing down. But obviously there’s a caveat there. You want to make sure that you do it in a situation where the safety of the children becomes paramount.”
Host, Dr. Marc Siegel:
“I want to push you a little because I actually distinguish in my mind between universities and elementary schools, because here’s what I mean, though. It may not be what you’re expecting. I think that universities are in natural quarantine situation. Why couldn’t they be more likely to open because you could self-quarantine within a university or shut down a university from the outside world, more or less if cases started to emerge?”
“Marc, you hit the nail right on the head. In fact, what you’ve just reflected in your statement to me is being considered very seriously by the authorities, the provosts, the chancellors, the presidents of universities in that it’s a totally different situation than children who go from school to home, to school to home with their playmates, that there are plans.
They vary from university and college and university college to one another is that there’s the opportunity to do things where you can get people tested before they go in and then do surveillance testing, particularly when you have a college or a university in which the majority of the students live in dormitories, you can do things there in separation, physical separation, one per room.
And there are some universities and colleges that I spoke to where they’re going to have dorms that are not necessarily fully utilized. That if a student winds up getting infected and doesn’t need direct medical care, but needs to be isolated, that you have a place to comfortably keep that student so you don’t have to shut down a class. It’s entirely different situation when you’re dealing with getting college and university students back versus children in elementary, middle, and high school.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci Opens Up About The Manufacturing Risk That’s Being Taken, In The Development Of A COVID-19 Vaccine
“The risk that is being done with these is not risk to safety or scientific integrity, it’s that the manufacturers will be making the vaccine so that doses will be ready even before we know that the vaccine is safe and effective. Because if it turns out that you have a candidate that is safe and effective, you gained multiple months by jumping ahead and already starting to manufacture.
If it turns out it’s not safe and effective, and you’re not going to use it, then you’ve lost a lot of money. But the judgment has been made that the government is making the investment in order to save time, not to cut down on safety, but to save time so that you have a product ready to go when you’ve proved it safe and effective. And if you lose out, you lose out money, but we feel it’s worth the risk.
That I think is going to give us the headstart on getting to the timetable that I mentioned. And that is the timetable that hopefully we will know by the end of the year, the beginning of 2021, whether we have a safe and effective vaccine, and if we do, we’ll be able to already start distributing it.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci: We Need To Keep Any Eye On States Bordering Hotspot States
“Right now, obviously the states that were involved most California, Arizona, Texas, and Florida, they’re really getting hit badly with a certain set of cases, but we need to keep our eye out on a number of other states that are sort of right next to them. Where if you look at them, they’re starting to see a slight increase in the percent positivity. The kind of thing that would have you at least put a red flag up to watch them.
And one of the things that was discussed at our task force meeting today was that when you see those kinds of things looking like they’re going to be a blip, that’s when you need to intensify things like making sure people wear masks, avoid crowds, stay six feet apart, wash your hands, do the kinds of things, stay out of bars and maybe even have the authorities in those states think about shutting things down like bars before you wind up seeing a really bad spike.
Because remember what we’re seeing now in the southern states that I just mentioned, there are a number of other states that are nearby that are really quite vulnerable for the same thing happening and we certainly want to avoid that.”
Could COVID-19 Hotspot States End Up Locked Down Again? – Dr. Anthony Fauci Weighs In
“I hope that we’re able to control the kinds of surges that we’re seeing in these other states that we just mentioned as well as the prevent, the future surging that could occur in neighboring states. I really would not like to see us get to the situation where we’re forced to lock down again, because that would be very discouraging to people.
There already has been a real difficult morale issue with people feeling locked down. So hopefully we can get the job done by getting this under control without a dramatic effect of locking down again.”