Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci speaks during an unscheduled briefing after a Coronavirus Task Force meeting at the White House on April 5, 2020, in Washington, DC.
Eric Baradat | AFP | Getty Images
A second wave of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States “could happen” but is “not inevitable,” White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday.
The U.S. can prevent another wave of Covid-19 as long as states reopen “correctly,” Fauci said Wednesday morning in an interview on CNN. “Don’t start leapfrogging over the recommendations of some of the guidelines because that’s really tempting fate and asking for trouble.”
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force, has previously warned that Americans need to prepare for the possibility of a second wave of the coronavirus in the fall, which would run alongside the flu season.
“We will have coronavirus in the fall,” Fauci said in April. “I am convinced of that.”
He told The Washington Post this month that he has “no doubt” there will be new waves of cases.
Fauci’s comments came days after he told CNBC that stay-at-home orders intended to curb the spread of the coronavirus could end up causing “irreparable damage” if imposed for too long.
“I don’t want people to think that any of us feel that staying locked down for a prolonged period of time is the way to go,” Fauci said during an interview Friday with CNBC’s Meg Tirrell on “Halftime Report.”
He said the U.S. had to institute severe measures because Covid-19 cases were exploding then. “But now is the time, depending upon where you are and what your situation is, to begin to seriously look at reopening the economy, reopening the country to try to get back to some degree of normal.”
Experts say the U.S. will need an effective drug treatment or vaccine before getting back to “normal.” There are no formally approved treatments for Covid-19, which has infected more than 5.6 million people worldwide, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Fauci said Wednesday that “the lack of efficacy” for anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, which has been touted by Trump as a game-changer against the coronavirus, is clear.
A study published Friday in medical journal The Lancet found that hospitalized Covid-19 patients treated with hydroxychloroquine had a higher risk of death than those who didn’t take it.
Earlier Wednesday, France said it banned the use of the potential treatment. On Monday, the World Health Organization said it temporarily suspended its trial of hydroxycholoroquine over safety concerns.