If the United States doesn’t get control of the coronavirus pandemic by fall, “you’re essentially chasing after a forest fire,” Dr. Anthony Fauci told the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Tuesday.
The goal would be to get complete control of the virus instead of just mitigating it, which is happening now, said Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Fauci told lawmakers during Tuesday's hearing to prepare for the change in season, the US also needs to get enough personal protective equipment (PPE) to fight the pandemic.
“Getting the PPE, getting the ventilators, getting the equipment that we need and have them in store so that if -- and I hope it’s if, and not when -- but if we ever need them, we’ll have them and not be in the situation that we were in in February and March,” he said.
Admiral Dr. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary at the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), said in terms of PPE “we had a long way to go because almost nothing was made in the United States. I mean literally, almost nothing was made in the United States.”
Giroir said he’s going to steal Fauci’s token phase and remain “cautiously optimistic” that the US will be able to ramp up production of equipment such as N95 respirator masks before the fall.
“But I am very cautious and I still don't sleep well at night because we have a long way to go,” Giroir said.