August 5 coronavirus news

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4:03 p.m. ET, August 5, 2020

Fauci says the length of time to get a Covid-19 test result is "totally unacceptable"

From CNN's Amanda Watts and Maureen Chowdhury

St. John’s Well Child & Family Center workers prepare to test a woman for Covid-19 at a free mobile test clinic set up outside Walker Temple AME Church in South Los Angeles amid the coronavirus pandemic on July 15
St. John’s Well Child & Family Center workers prepare to test a woman for Covid-19 at a free mobile test clinic set up outside Walker Temple AME Church in South Los Angeles amid the coronavirus pandemic on July 15

Dr. Anthony Fauci said the coronavirus testing challenges in the United States are "unacceptable — period," during an interview with CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

“Right now, you have tests that you want to determine if an individual is infected for contact tracing. The weakness of that, although in some areas it’s doing fine, in others the gap between the time you get the test and the time you get the result, in some respects, obviates the reason why you did the test," Fauci said. “We got to correct that.”

Gupta explained a situation last week when he was preparing for brain surgery and couldn’t get the timely result of a Covid-19 test.

“I got a CAT scan on my patient, I got coagulation numbers on my patient, I got a cardiac echo on my patient, I was doing brain surgery on this patient, and could not get a Covid result,” Gupta explained.

Gupta asked why, after so many months, do we still have this problem?

“I could bend myself into a pretzel trying to get out of that question,” Fauci answered. “It’s unacceptable – period.”

“You a real world example of why we got to do better,” he said. 

“There you were in the operating room, having to put on PPE,” because the patient’s Covid status was unknown, Fauci said. “That is totally unacceptable, and for me to say anything different is distorting reality.” 

Fauci went on to say that "the ultimate goal, is that you would have a test that you could do and get a result in 10 minutes, that's sensitive, specific and can be upscaled in the sense of – you can do it any place, in anywhere."

2:07 p.m. ET, August 5, 2020

Coronavirus is historic, and there's been "nothing like it in 102 years," Fauci says

From CNN’s Amanda Watts

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Dr. Anthony Fauci, speaking to CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta during a Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health forum, said coronavirus has the world in “uncharted territory.”

“We have something brand new, historic, nothing like it in 102 years – and it's evolving,” he said. 

When it evolves, that’s when science needs to drive the recommendations, “particularly things like masks and crowds, indoor/outdoor, aerosol, not aerosol – these are things that we're learning as time goes by, and you do the best you can to make the recommendation, based on the data that you have right now,” Fauci said.

1:57 p.m. ET, August 5, 2020

Fauci says US had a "disparate" response to Covid-19 pandemic

From CNN's Gisela Crespo

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Wednesday that the US had a "disparate" response to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

"We live in a very big country, and we often leave the decisions about the implementation of things at the local level. And what we've seen is a great disparity in how individual states, cities, etcetera, responded," Fauci told CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta in a virtual forum hosted by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and The New England Journal of Medicine.

Fauci explained that the US never got the number of new daily Covid-19 cases low enough to reopen in a safe way compared to other countries. Fauci added that states also didn't open uniformly, causing numbers to jump back up.

"We had a disparate response,” Fauci said. “Some [states] went up and some went down, way down, and there were parts of the country you could look at that did very well. But totally, as a nation, we are in that situation where we’ve got to get that control way down to a low baseline."

"We can do much better," Fauci added.

1:52 p.m. ET, August 5, 2020

Fauci says making mask-wearing a political issue is "completely ridiculous"

From CNN Health’s Amanda Watts

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Dr. Anthony Fauci says wearing a mask should not be a political issue.

Speaking with CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta during a Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health forum on Wednesday, Fauci said, “There's such a divergence of how people view this [wearing masks].”

“A little while ago, you know, it depends on whether you wear a mask on how you feel politically, which was completely ridiculous,” he said.

 “The mask is a public health tool,” he added.

2:11 p.m. ET, August 5, 2020

Fauci: US will continue to smolder if there's no unified response

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, warned that if the US does not have a unified response against Covid-19, the country is at risk of continuing to "smolder."

Speaking to CNN's Sanjay Gupta, Fauci used the metaphor of a rowing team, noting that while watching matches of his daughter who was on a varsity crew team in college, he learned that to "win the race" all those on the boat must be "rowing in unison."

"The only way you're going to win the race is that when all eight are rowing in unison. You get one that catches a crab, as it were, with, an oar goes that way or you don't row, you don't win. So as long as you have any member of society, any demographic group who's not seriously trying to get to the end game of suppressing this, it will continue to smolder and smolder and smolder, and that will be the reason why in a non-unified way we've plateaued at an unacceptable level."

Fauci added that he thinks this lack of unity "is the problem."

2:00 p.m. ET, August 5, 2020

Fauci explains why people who don't develop coronavirus symptoms are driving new cases

From CNN's Amanda Watts

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said a mixed message around coronavirus is what is driving new cases.

“The good news about Covid-19 is that about 40% of the population has no symptoms. … The bad news, for messaging, is that 40% of the population get no symptoms," he told CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta during a Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health forum.

“As long as you have any member of society, any demographic group, who's not seriously trying to get to the end game of suppressing this, it will continue to smolder and smolder and smolder, and that will be the reason why, in a non-unified way, we've plateaued at an unacceptable level,” he said.

 WATCH:

1:52 p.m. ET, August 5, 2020

Fauci says there is "a degree of anti-science feeling" in the US

Dr. Anthony Fauci said there's "a degree of anti-science feeling in this country" while speaking to CNN's Sanjay Gupta today.

Fauci said he believes this feeling about science by some is "almost related to authority and a mistrust in authority."

He said that sometimes scientists are "looked upon as being authoritative figure" and those that mistrust science thinks that "pushing back on authority, they're pushing back on government, it's the same as pushing back on science." 

"Unfortunately, that's not what scientists are," he continued.

Fauci added that scientists need to be "more transparent in reaching out to people and engaging society and understanding why science and evidence-based policy is so important." 

WATCH:

1:40 p.m. ET, August 5, 2020

Fauci says he and his family have gotten death threats

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury

Dr. Anthony Fauci said that receiving death threats for advocating public health principles has been stressful for him and his family, during an interview on Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health forum with CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta .

"Getting death threats for me and my family and harassing my daughters to the point where I have to get security, it just, it’s amazing," Fauci told Gupta.

"I wouldn’t have imagined it in my wildest dreams, that people who object to things that are pure public health principles are so set against it and don’t like what you and I say, namely in the word of science, that they actually threaten you," he said.

Fauci also discussed how he has adjusted to "chronic exhaustion" since starting to work on the coronavirus task force.

"I'm doing fine... I can't complain. I think the energy and adrenaline rush and the focus comes from the, what you said, the importance of the problem," Fauci said.

1:27 p.m. ET, August 5, 2020

Fauci says US has suffered "as much or worse than anyone"

From CNN's Amanda Watts

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies before a House Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing on July 31 in Washington.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies before a House Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing on July 31 in Washington. Kevin Dietsch/Pool/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, said when it comes to coronavirus in the United States, the country has suffered “as much or worse than anyone.”

Speaking to CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta during a Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health forum, Fauci said, “When you look at the number of infections and the number of deaths, it really is quite, quite concerning.”

“The numbers don’t lie,” he added.