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Dr. Fauci Tells Tim Scott Where We Are on Vaccines

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Posted: Jul 02, 2020 12:00 PM
Dr. Fauci Tells Tim Scott Where We Are on Vaccines

Source: Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead

Dr. Anthony Fauci made some news at Tuesday's Senate HELP Committee hearing. As you may have read, he told Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) that "we're going in the wrong direction" in terms of the pandemic, citing concerning spikes in states like Texas, Arizona and Florida. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases and White House coronavirus task force member, suspected that the U.S. could soon see 100,000 new coronavirus cases a day.

"We are now having 40-plus thousand new cases a day," Fauci said. "I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around. And so I am very concerned."

But it wasn't all doom and gloom. A number of active programs have shown efficacy in some therapeutic drugs, he explained. One, in particular, showed promise, the first placebo-controlled study of the drug Remdesivir, which diminished recovery time by about 32 percent.

He shared some good news in terms of vaccines as well, saying they have a "strong plan" focusing on what's called a "harmonized effect."

"Because we know there are many vaccines that are in trial now at various stages," Fauci explained. "What we did...in order to harmonize the trials of multiple candidates from different companies so that we have common endpoints, common data and safety monitoring board, and common immunological parameters that are being funded and being pursued."

And yet, as Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) noted, not even half of Americans recently surveyed said they'd get the vaccine once it's developed. He asked the physician how to change those stubborn minds.

Dr. Fauci said there are a few factors that can spark more engagement with communities to get vaccinated if and when those doses become available. During his contributions in helping fight HIV, Dr. Fauci said they would rely on community leaders to get the word out. The tactic worked and they hope to use the "boots on the ground" strategy once more.

Noted and trusted sports figures in communities, he suggested, could be of particular help. This engagement particularly needs to happen in minority communities, he explained, because those are the "most vulnerable."

"It's extremely important to engage them at the local level," he said.

Sen. Scott said that's it's important to follow Fauci's strategy, noting that the immunization rate among children has decreased by 60 to 80 percent during the pandemic, creating a real risk of secondary infections.

On Thursday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that he was also "very encouraged" after the briefings he's attended that we'll have virals and vaccines by the end of year.