Dr. Anthony Fauci is "cautiously optimistic" that there will be a vaccine for COVID-19 either at the end of 2020 or in early 2021, he announced on Tuesday. The health official has been spending less time in front of TV cameras lately, but he is still working with the Trump administration on the coronavirus pandemic. He and other top health officials spoke before a House committee on Tuesday, according to a report by The Associated Press.
"We've been hit badly," Fauci said of the coronavirus pandemic, adding that he is "really quite concerned" about the rising case numbers in some states. However, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases saw a light at the end of the tunnel, as he hopes to see a working vaccine for the virus available at the end of this year or the beginning of next year. Until then, he urged the American people to practice social distancing, and urged their leaders to encourage safe behaviors.
Fauci testified before Congress on Tuesday alongside Dr. Robert Redfield — director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Stephen Hahn — chief of the Federal Drug Administration and Adm. Brett Giroir, head of the U.S. Public Health Service. Fauci was previously a part of President Donald Trump's near-daily coronavirus press briefings at the beginning of the outbreak, and he testified before the Senate over a month ago. Since then, his absence from news coverage has been noted by many viewers.
Fauci did his best to reassure the American people on Tuesday. He addressed the president's claim that he had ordered his administration to "slow down the testing," since it looked unfavorable for new cases to continue rising. "We will be doing more testing, " Fauci said.
New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone brought up Trump's testing comments on Tuesday, saying that the president's speech "was an extremely reckless action, and unfortunately it continues the president's pattern of ignoring the advice of his own public health experts."
"There have been a lot of unfortunate missteps in the Trump administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic," Pallone went on. "As communities across the country ease social distancing guidance and reopen their economies, it is critically important that both the administration and Congress remain focused on containing the spread of the coronavirus and providing the resources and support Americans need during this time of crisis."
Fauci said that he believes the U.S. is still in the "first wave" of its coronavirus outbreak, and the attempts to re-open public spaces around the country are "risky" to everyone involved. He specified that this applies to protests and Trump rallies as well.