Dr Anthony Fauci, one of the nation’s top infectious disease experts told a virtual summit on Thursday that the country had “not yet seen the worst” of effects caused by colder winter temperatures and that they needed to “double down” on prevention methods.
“It’s important right now as we are entering into the cooler seasons of the fall and the colder season of the winter that we are in a very precarious situation in the United States,” he said.
“We’re at a critical time right now, we’ve got to double down on the prevention methods.
“I’m not talking about shutting the country down at all, we’re not talking about locking down, we’re talking about implementing some of the important and yet simple public health measures.
“These seem very simplistic, but historically we know they can prevent surges and turn things around.”
When asked about cases of infections being exacerbated by the onset of winter, Dr Fauci said the US “hadn’t yet seen the worst of it”.
“The full impact of indoors has not yet been felt and that’s why I think unfortunately, unless we do something in a co-ordinated, universal way with regard to implementation of public health measures, things are definitely going to get worse before they get better,” he said.
“After 102 years since the pandemic of 1918, this is really the worst that we have seen with regard to pandemics.
“It’s truly historic in its impact already and it’s not over yet.”
He added that he was “fairly confident” and “cautiously optimistic” that more than one vaccine would be available by November or December of this year, and that people should not delay being vaccinated.
“I don’t think you should wait if you’re in a vulnerable group, if you’re elderly or if you have an underlying condition, I would get the vaccine as soon as it comes out,” he said.
“I think we’re going to have more than one vaccine, I think it’s going to be pretty soon and it’ll be widely distributed by the time we get into the third quarter of 2021.”