DETROIT – Dr. Anthony Fauci testified before the House about the country’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, he spoke about a possible timeline for a vaccine, including whether that could be by the end of this year.
Fauci, the heads of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration and the testing czar all testified Tuesday, saying they have not been told by the White House to slow down testing.
They said they plan to do more testing to help identify asymptomatic people who are spreading the coronavirus.
“None of us have ever been told to slow down on testing,” Fauci said. “That just is a fact. In fact, we will be doing more testing.”
Fauci said he remains cautiously optimistic about a vaccine.
“When -- and I believe it will be ‘when,' and not ‘if’ -- we get favorable candidates with good results, we will be able to make it available to the American public, as I said to this committee months ago, within a year from when we started -- which would put us at the end of this calendar year and the beginning of 2021.”
Experts also emphasized the importance of making sure Americans are vaccinated against the flu this fall.
“If we get everybody a flu vaccine, that’s one less virus that could kill 20, 30, 50 thousand, 70 thousand and potentially even be a co-infection with COVID-19,” Fauci said.
The CDC has developed a new test to detect two strains of influenza and COVID-19.
“There are multiple manufacturers, both at point of care and laboratories, who will have this test,” Fauci said.
He said the national stockpile is restocked with personal protective equipment in preparation for the fall, when experts predict there could be another spike in positive COVID-19 cases.
“We know what the failings were early on,” Fauci said. “A lack of enough PPE, a lack of enough N-95 (masks), hospital bed issues, ventilator issues. All that is right now being stored up in the strategic national stockpile.”
He urged everyone to do their part to stop the spread.
“We will get through this,” Fauci said. “This will end, hopefully sooner rather than later. But we need to establish a system so that we’re prepared for future outbreaks.”
He said getting back to normalcy is going to be a gradual, step-by-step process. It won’t work if everyone throws caution to the wind.