Exclusive: No summer holidays in US 'for months' says America's top public health expert
Anthony Fauci (R), director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, listens while U.S. President Donald Trump speaks - AFP
According to America's most prominent health official, British vacationers can expect to travel to the United States for months with coronavirus restrictions.
In an interview with The Telegraph, Dr. Anthony Fauci, a leading member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said the ban could continue until a vaccine is developed, although it may be earlier. He said it would be "more likely months than weeks".
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In a normal year, around 3.8 million Britons visit the U.S. to vacation destinations like New York, Los Angeles, Florida, and Las Vegas. The travel ban was ordered by Donald Trump in March. There are a few exceptions, including green card holders, those with American spouses and British government officials, but the vast majority of British citizens are effectively excluded. Bans also apply to the European Union, China and Brazil.
Dr. Fauci, America's leading infectious disease expert, said, "It will really be a wait and see. I don't think there will be an immediate withdrawal for these types of restrictions. My feeling of seeing what's going on with it." I think the infection rate is measured in months rather than weeks. "
US waves of infection will come and go under the fear of a second climax
During the pandemic, 79-year-old Dr. Fauci the most trusted official in America. The eyed-up immunologist appeared alongside Donald Trump at briefings in the White House and proved to be the best source of information in the country in a confusing time
Given the increasing infection rates in a variety of U.S. states and global protests, Dr. Fauci expressed concern and said the crisis was far from over.
"We managed to suppress the virus in cities that had major outbreaks - New York, Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans," he told The Telegraph. "But we see several conditions trying to reopen and return to normal and are beginning to see early signs that infections are higher than before.
"The question is whether they will be able to do the proper and effective isolation and contact tracking to prevent this surge from becoming a complete outbreak. I am concerned that this will happen. I hope the individual states can mitigate that. It could go on and off for a couple of cycles. I would hope to get back to normal within a year or so, but I don't think it is this winter or fall, we will be see it for a little bit more. "
He added: "It is not inevitable that you will have a so-called 'second wave' in the fall, or even a massive surge if you approach it properly."
The U.S. has just had two million cases and 113,000 deaths. Almost 1,000 people still die every day.
As all 50 states are now heading for the reopening of weekly infection numbers, 21 of them are increasing. More than a dozen, including Texas and Florida, have just reported record daily numbers. Oregon announced a week-long pause in reopening. Arizona's intensive care beds are occupied to 78 percent. Wall Street has sunk in the middle of the virus tips.
In many states, demonstrators have taken to the streets to demand racial justice after George Floyd's death, and that stokes Dr. Fauci's concern, although he believes in the need to protest.
"The bottom line is risk [at the protest] and of course it's worrying. We know from the experience of all of us in the UK and here that it works [with masks]," he said. "We also know that when you gather in bulk, it is a means of spreading infection.
“I would say that in a perfect world, people shouldn't gather and demonstrate in a crowd. But I know that even though you say that, they will. So if you want to do it, don't take off the mask when singing, shouting, shouting and doing everything at a demonstration. "
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Getty Images North America
As in Great Britain, there was a lot of debate in the United States as to whether school reopening could contribute to a second wave. In the United States, schools will not return until September.
Dr. Fauci said school decisions should not be "one-dimensional", but based on local conditions.
He said: "In the United States, we are geographically a very large country - several times, several times larger than in the United Kingdom - and we are very heterogeneous. The New York City metropolitan area is very different from Casper, Wyoming. What we say we have to do look at the dynamics of the outbreak, how high is the degree of infection and in which direction is it going in a particular state, city or county?
"There are some places in the US where there is very little infection activity. In these circumstances, you can choose to go back to school much more liberally. It's not a one size fits all, it depends on where you are. Now me don't know if there is so much heterogeneity in the UK. If so, I think that would apply to the UK as well. "
For Dr. Fauci is the holy grail vaccine and he said there is "good news". Moderna's vaccine will start a phase 3 trial in the first two weeks of July, he said. This is the final stage before it may be approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration.
"We have potential vaccines that are making significant progress. We may have four or five," he said. "With a vaccine you can never guarantee success, that's stupid, there are so many ways that things go wrong. [But] all we've seen from early results, it's conceivable that we have two or three successful vaccines to get."
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, listens to President Donald Trump speak to reporters - Getty Images North America
These vaccines could be ready by the end of the year or early 2021 and deliver billions of doses, he said. He hopes that due to the anti-vaccination movement in the United States, there will be no "reluctance" to take it.
Coronavirus Task Force meetings are no longer held daily and Dr. Fauci spends less time in the White House these days. Democrats have accused Mr. Trump of putting the task force out of business because he focuses on reopening the economy. The White House has rejected the allegation.
Dr. Fauci himself focuses on fighting the virus, which he calls his "worst nightmare". He never thought he would see such a devastating illness in his life.
"Covid-19 is an explosive outbreak that will spread to so many cities and around the world in a few months," he said. "It endangers everyone, it doesn't matter whether you are rich or poor, it is everyone."
But he added, "This will end. As stressful and devastating as it may be, it will end. We are all together as a global community and I see the light at the end of the tunnel."
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