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Transcript: Anthony Fauci on “Face the Nation”, November 22, 2020

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The following is a record of an interview with NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, which aired on “Face the Nation” on Sunday, November 22, 2020.


Margaret Brennan: I would like to go to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Good morning, doctor. long time no see. Thank you for visiting us this morning. I wish I had better news.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI: Thank you, Margaret. I’m glad to be with you. I wish I had it.

Margaret Brennan: 83,000-83,000 people are currently hospitalized in this country. who are they? What do we know Why are they making this sick?

DR. FAUCI: Well, it’s clear what this illness does, especially for the elderly and those with underlying illnesses. And we know what they are: obesity, high blood pressure, chronic lung disease, diabetes and more. But again, it’s not just the elderly. We are beginning to see a fairly high percentage of people hospitalized between the ages of 40 and 59. Therefore, these people are primarily dominated by the elderly and underlying illness, but not completely. Margaret, these numbers really speak for themselves. We are in a very very difficult situation at all levels. So, those who are pushing for mitigation recommendations should look only at the numbers and the facts. They are looking at us head-on. You know, we’re not talking about closing a country and closing it completely. However, Margaret knows that if you look at some of the states that are actually implementing mitigation measures, and if you compare the countries that are implementing them, the mitigation measures will work even in the United States. And in a really simple way-I’m not talking about locking everything, but universal wearing of masks, physical distance, crowd avoidance, especially indoors-keeping masks indoors, more than indoors Also considering the weather talking about doing things outdoors, it’s probably possible by washing your hands. These are relatively easy things to do. And in fact, we know when you do it, and it affects when you limit the capacity of a restaurant and do things that keep you away from bars and even nearby bars. It’s not as if you do it, it doesn’t help you. It can actually blunt the curve. And when we enter the cold season, we see people traveling, especially in the holiday season situation. You watch clips on TV, people at the airport. This means that we must be aware that we are involved in more problems than we are now.

Margaret Brennan: You said this week we are approaching exponential growth in infectious diseases. Can you level out with the Americans here and tell them what they need to prepare for? Are you trying to turn to the most intense part of this pandemic you’ve ever experienced?

DR. Fauci: Yeah. Yes, on the other hand, that’s true. Exponential means that the curve is very steep. Looking at the Spring Triangle, which was dominated by infections in the northeastern part of the country, especially in the New York metropolitan area, it looks like this: Looking at what I saw in the southern states when I tried to resume, the curve looked like this. For now, the curve is like that. It is rising at a very fast rate. And you saw almost every day, in fact, give you another record. That said, you don’t want people to be scared, but Margaret, I want them to understand that we can do something about it with mitigation methods. Help is also in progress. Therefore, this should not be considered a desperate situation. And when you feel the fatigue of COVID, it’s completely understandable. People just throw their hands and say, “Well, we can’t do anything about it, we’ll do what we’re trying to do.” I want –

Margaret Brennan: That’s right.

DR. FAUCI:-Doing so is a wrong decision. Vaccines are coming and will be available relatively soon. If you can stay there by mitigating methods and implementing them-

Margaret Brennan: Yes.

DR. Fauci: -We can get out of this. So, on the one hand, there is a very calm message, but if you do something specific, there is a hopeful message. It is within our power.

Margaret Brennan: I know-

DR. Fauci: We are not helpless.

Margaret Brennan: I know, and I’m listening to your passion here. I want to reach the hope of a vaccine soon. But let’s talk about that reality in the near future.

DR. Fauci: That’s right.

Margaret Brennan: You mentioned the airport crowd. It is estimated that 50 million Americans will travel. They are ignoring the CDC’s advice not to do so. Which is more dangerous, the plane or the crowd?

DR. Fauci: Crowd, obviously. Air-Airports-Airlines are doing their best to get air flow to prevent it. However, when you board a crowded plane, you may be at risk because you are in a crowded airport and not everyone is wearing masks and are lined up. One of the things we’re really worried about is that when we enter this Thanksgiving season, we won’t see any increase until a few weeks later. Things will be delayed. So it gets colder and colder in December, and once you start dealing with your Christmas holidays, you don’t want to see another surge in the case. We can get into really very difficult situations. So you want to tell people to take the decisions you make seriously. And it’s also Margaret, another important thing, it’s one that we weren’t completely aware of, if you want to call them, one of the places you’re at risk It means that seemingly innocent family friends gather indoors. In other words, it seems to be the most natural thing. That’s why we tell people, think of the people you want to join your own family unit. Want to take a lot of people to a big dinner party?

Margaret Brennan: That’s right.

DR. Fauci: -Or a social event? And obviously, when you are eating and drinking, you have to remove your mask. We now know that they are in a situation that leads to an outbreak-

Margaret Brennan: Specifically-

DR. Fauci: -for people-

Margaret Brennan: -Take your points home-

DR. Fauci: Yes, please.

Margaret Brennan:-The CDC specifically says that only those who have lived in the house for Thanksgiving and have lived actively for 14 years should be recruited-

DR. Fauci: That’s right.

Margaret Brennan:-Sun. That means there are no neighbors. That means there are no travelers. That means your child is coming-

DR. Fauci: That’s right.

Margaret Brennan:-A college home shouldn’t be in a room with you. So does that advice expire after Thanksgiving? Will Christmas be canceled as well?

DR. FAUCI: Yeah, no, I don’t know what will happen. If you do this incorrectly and pay close attention to the reality of what is possible, you may be able to continue by ignoring these recommendations. Having that exponential growth as you enter Christmas. And that’s one of our concerns. Wait a minute, it’s a natural reaction to say I know these people. You know, they are friends. They are coming. You tend to loosen your vigilance almost intuitively and instinctively. Well, I don’t want to say that no one comes in, but you can have someone who has their own protection pod, someone who isolates themselves, someone who takes the test. But in general, it’s Margaret that I recommend and do this every day. Instruct your family to take some time to carry out what I call risk and benefit decisions. If you have an elderly person or someone with an underlying illness at home, do you want to risk that person from someone who can be infected innocently or inadvertently? Because we clearly know that asymptomatic people are clearly capable and capable-

Margaret Brennan: Yeah.

DR. FAUCI:-Send infection. So think for a moment. A long-term comparison of your current risks and what you can do if you stay healthy.

Margaret Brennan: Meet your hopes. A scientific adviser to Operation Warpspeed said that if the vaccine was distributed this morning, true herd immunity could occur sometime in May. Will America return to normal life in May?

DR. Fauci: I don’t think so, but I don’t think so. I think you’re talking about Monsef Slawi, but-

Margaret Brennan: Yes.

DR. Fauci:-And I fully agree with him. However, there are some things that are related to the effectiveness of the vaccine program, a very effective vaccine, and we are there. There are two with 95% effectiveness. The other part of the equation is how many people will be vaccinated. Therefore, if you have a very effective vaccine and only 40-50% of people are vaccinated, you will not get the necessary herd immunity. What we need is that as many people as possible need to be vaccinated. That is why we now want to consider it very carefully with a completely independent advisory board and make it so transparent that people can understand the independent and transparent process that has reached the point of declaring it as EUA. And finally the license that the vaccine is safe and effective.

Margaret Brennan: That’s right.

DR. Fauci: When the American people hear it, you should be confident that it is the case. And with the overwhelming majority of people vaccinated with highly effective vaccines, we can reasonably and quickly reach herd immunity, which is a comprehensive source of national protection. I will.

Margaret Brennan: This has not been tested on children or toddlers at all. When do they get it?

DR. Fauci: That’s right. Well, you know, that’s the situation when you talk about toddlers and toddlers, it probably won’t be months away-we have to put your health safety first from the experience of vaccines. I know they have to be children’s because they are a vulnerable population. And I want to show that it is effective and safe in a wider range of situations before actually giving it to a child.

Margaret Brennan: That’s right.

DR. FAUCI: Within a few months, we will conduct many studies, including what is called a bridging study. This shows that children can elicit the same type of reaction and that it is safe for children. Give them it within the next few months.

Margaret Brennan: Well, the CDC will provide guidelines. The state calls on who to give it, but healthcare professionals and seniors are expected to go first. When do Americans know if they are eligible to get the vaccine?

DR. Fauci: Well, you said it right, Margaret. The CDC makes the final decision on the recommendations. They work closely with the Advisory Committee on Immunization Implementation and are complemented by recommendations from the National Academy of Medicine. But after all, it’s the CDC. What they do is that they make recommendations after the EUA, and emergency licenses are actually enforced. That way, they will know all the discussions that have taken place with the FDA and, based on our determination and advisory board, will be able to say OK.

Margaret Brennan: Yeah.

DR. Fauci:-This is the priority of those who get it. And I hope it works, and I think it will, but if these vaccines get EUA, I think 20 million people will be vaccinated between mid-December and late December. And in January-

Margaret Brennan: Will you take it next month?

DR. Fauci:-More in February. Yeah, if I’m in a recommended group, I definitely do.

Margaret Brennan: I see.

DR. FAUCI: I will see the data, that is, now the C-FDA makes that decision. But I don’t hesitate to take it, and I don’t hesitate to recommend it to my family.

Margaret Brennan: Okay, Dr. Forch, thank you and good luck.

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