Immunologist Anthony Fauci, central figure in the White House crisis cell on the coronavirus, warned on Tuesday of the “very serious” consequences of a too rapid economic recovery, although encouraged by Donald Trump.
Adviser to Donald Trump on the COVID crisis – 19, he also warned that the results in the United States, the country most affected by the pandemic , was “probably higher” than the more than 80 000 official deaths, especially taking into account the cases of deceased persons at her's.
Long awaited, his hearing, by videoconference, in the United States Senate, contrasted with the speech of the White House which for days focused its optimistic message on the need to revive the economy of the country, ravaged by the crisis of coronavirus.
“Our testing capacity is the best in the world, by far,” President Trump again defended on Twitter Tuesday morning. “The numbers are going down in most parts of our country, which wants to reopen and restart. This is what is happening, safely! “
Asked about his discrepancy with that of the Republican president, Anthony Fauci rejected any “confrontation”.
“I give advice and he listens to and respects it and he gets information from various people. In recent months, there has been no conflictual relationship between us, “he told senators.
A globally recognized immunologist who has distinguished himself in the fight against many viruses, from AIDS to Ebola, Anthony Fauci has become a reassuring figure during the crisis for many Americans. But also decried, Republicans being indignant that he contradicts Donald Trump.
And at the hearing on Tuesday, the libertarian senator Rand Paul seemed to get Anthony Fauci out of his usual phlegm by telling him that he was not the only “reference” on the question of when he would be sure to restart the economy.
“I have never presented myself as the only reference and only voice on this. I am a scientist, a public health official and I advise on the basis of the best scientific indications, “he replied.
“The consequences could be very serious” if a State, a city or a region decides to reopen its economy before the necessary conditions are met, in particular a drop in the epidemic detected during 14 days, said Dr Fauci.
“We are going in the right direction, but the right direction absolutely does not mean that we have total control of this epidemic,” he insisted.
“If we do not deploy the adequate response, when the fall arrives, since there is no doubt that there will be infections in the population, then we run the risk of see a resumption “of the epidemic, he warned. And that could “even send us back on the road to economic recovery.”
Donald Trump's health adviser issued an even darker warning the day before, declaring to the New York Times that the United States would risk to know “unnecessary deaths and suffering” if they lifted the restrictions “prematurely”.
Anthony Fauci said he was “cautiously optimistic” about the prospect of a vaccine, with eight candidates currently undergoing clinical trials.
At 79 years old, he placed himself as a precaution in a type of “modified quarantine” because of a possible exposure to the new coronavirus, which struck there a few days before the White House, where two employees tested positive.
But he said Tuesday that he continued to work, went to the White House on Monday and returned “maybe” during the day.
Like the doctor, two other prominent members of the White House crisis cell, who testified Tuesday at the hearing, also took precaution in self-isolation: Robert Redfield, director of the Centers Prevention and Control (CDC), Stephen Hahn, head of the Medicines Agency (FDA).
The fourth witness, Deputy Minister of Health Brett Giroir, also testified by videoconference.
However, some of the senators attended the hearing in person, most of them masked on arrival, respecting the safety distances in a packed room, but almost empty on Tuesday.
A new organization which gives the measure of the pandemic especially in the United States, with more 80 000 deaths and 1.3 million cases officially declared.