As coronavirus surges, Fauci tells WTOP ‘we can turn it around’

Many consider Dr. Anthony Fauci the face of America’s fight against the new coronavirus.

But 20 minutes before President Donald Trump was scheduled to resume regular briefings of the White House coronavirus task force, Fauci was not preparing for it.

Instead, he was on the phone, telling WTOP’s Shawn Anderson he probably would not be taking part.

And while some might believe that absence is curious — given recent White House criticism — the Presidential Medal of Freedom winner was quick to say it’s not an issue.

“I think the president certainly has the prerogative of holding a press conference,” said Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

“He likely will be talking about more things than just coronavirus, so that’s probably one of the reasons why he’s doing it alone.”

What does he want the president to focus on during such briefings? Fauci hoped Trump would “emphasize there are things that we can do to dampen that surge” in the nation’s Sun Belt. This includes, of course, masks. It also includes social distancing — in particular, keeping bars closed.

“In turning this around, we can do it,” Fauci said. “We can turn it around; we just need to act appropriately.”

Tuesday saw one of the D.C. area’s biggest school districts — Montgomery County Public Schools — announce it would go online-only for the first semester. Another big district — Fairfax County Public Schools — could be very close to doing the same.

Although Fauci said that keeping kids out of classrooms can take a toll on kids and parents, he emphasized what “must be paramount is the safety and the welfare of the children themselves, as well as the teachers.”

As for the hard work of developing a vaccine, Fauci said, “initial results look quite good,” with dozens of candidates being developed globally. He wasn’t concerned that some companies have been quick to tout successes in early trials.

“Companies releasing data is just part of what companies do,” he said. “Ultimately, the data will be transparent and will be public.”

Fauci also said it was humbling to be picked to throw the Washington Nationals’ Opening Day first pitch on Thursday.

“That’s going to be a curve, for sure,” he said.

More Coronavirus News

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

This content was republished with permission from CNN.

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