May 12, 2020 - Health

Fauci: "Of course" there will be more deaths if U.S. does not have adequate testing by fall

The U.S. will "without a doubt" have more coronavirus infections and deaths in the fall and winter if effective testing, contact tracing and social distancing measures are not scaled up to adequate levels, Anthony Fauci told Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) at a hearing Tuesday.

The big picture: Fauci said he expects testing will be adequate by the end of the summer or early fall, but that if it isn't, "we run the risk of having a resurgence. President Trump claimed on Monday that the U.S. has "met the moment and prevailed" with regard to testing, contradicting several of his own health officials.

  • Adm. Brett Giroir, the federal government's testing coordinator, testified that the U.S. should have the capacity to test more than 25 million people per month by August or September.

The exchange:

WARREN: "If we don't do better on testing, on contact tracing and on social distancing, will deaths from coronavirus necessarily increase?"
FAUCI: "Of course. If you do not do an adequate response, we will have the deleterious consequence of more infections and more deaths. That's the reason why you quoted me, senator, quite correctly, everything you said. And I will stand by that. If we do not respond in an adequate way when the fall comes, given that it is without a doubt that there will be infections in the community, that we run the risk of having a resurgence. I would hope by that point in time in the fall we have more than enough to respond adequately. But if we don't, there will be problems. 

The big picture: Fauci testified that the U.S. does not have the coronavirus "completely under control," and that while cases may be declining in places like New York City, they are spiking in other parts of the country. The virus is "highly transmissible" and will not "just disappear," he added.

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