Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci called the coronavirus outbreak his "worst nightmare" and sounded the alarm over its continued spread in an interview aired to a biotechnology conference on Tuesday, the New York Times reports.

What he's saying: Fauci, who spent part of his career studying HIV, said the disease it caused was "really simple compared to what’s going on with COVID-19." He added that he believes that COVID-19's spread can be attributed to the frequency with which sick people were traveling.

  • Yet Fauci said he remained surprised at "how rapidly it just took over the planet," asking, "Where is it going to end? We’re still at the beginning of it."

Yes, but: Fauci says he's "almost certain" that more than one of the vaccines in development will be effective.

Go deeper

Sep 17, 2020 - Health

The risks of moving too fast on a coronavirus vaccine

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The scientific race for a coronavirus vaccine is moving at record-shattering speed. Making the most of that work — translating a successful clinical product into real-world progress — will require some patience.

Why it matters: If we get a vaccine relatively soon, the next big challenge will be balancing the need to get it into people's hands with the need to keep working on other solutions that might prove more effective.

Sep 16, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump contradicts CDC chief on when vaccine will be widely available

President Trump claimed at a press briefing on Wednesday that CDC director Robert Redfield was wrong when he testified to Congress that a coronavirus vaccine won't be available for widespread distribution until the second or third quarter of 2021.

Why it matters: Trump has already faced criticism for allegations that his administration has politicized the coronavirus response and is seeking rapid approval and distribution of a vaccine in order to boost his re-election campaign.

Updated Sep 16, 2020 - Health

Top HHS spokesperson takes leave of absence after accusing scientists of "sedition"

Michael Caputo in Washington, D.C. in May 2018. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson Michael Caputo is taking a 60 day leave of absence "to focus on his health and the well-being of his family," the agency said in a statement on Wednesday.

Driving the news: Caputo baselessly accused career scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a Facebook livestream on Sunday of gathering a "resistance unit" for "sedition" against President Trump, the New York Times reported on Tuesday. He apologized to staff on Tuesday, according to Politico.