The United States was unprepared for the deadly coronavirus pandemic because its pandemic plan was based on an influenza model, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Tuesday at the Texas Tribune Festival.
“We got hit and have been hit very badly now with 200,000 deaths and about 7 million infections in the United States – certainly disproportionately,” Fauci said.
“It shows you a couple of things,” he said. “Pandemic preparedness that we have done prior to this, for which we were given accolades for as a country how well prepared we were, were really based on an influenza model,” Fauci said, adding that public health experts were ready to fight a virus that spread mostly when people already had symptoms.
“So what happened is that when this outbreak evolved, there were so many things about it that we did not fully appreciate. And there were some missteps in the beginning," he said.
Early in the pandemic, Fauci and others said that epidemics of respiratory disease were spread mostly by people who have symptoms. It’s clear now that the novel coronavirus is often spread by people who have no symptoms. That makes it harder to fight.
It’s not an excuse, Fauci added. It’s just an explanation of why the US is seeing about 40,000 infections a day and as many as 1,000 daily deaths.