Story at a glance

  • Fauci said he’s almost certain the virus will come back in the fall.
  • He said the country should do reasonably well if countermeasures such as testing, contact tracing and isolating those who are infected are put in place in the coming months.
  • The U.S. has confirmed more than 1 million coronavirus cases with nearly 60,000 deaths.

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said a second wave of the novel coronavirus is “inevitable,” the same day the United States topped 1 million cases of COVID-19. 

The nation’s leading epidemiologist and key member of the White House coronavirus task force said in an interview with the Economic Club Tuesday the virus probably won’t go away due to how contagious it is and its reach around the world. 


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“I’m almost certain it will come back. The virus is so transmissible and it’s globally spread,” Fauci said, noting that as cases in the U.S. stabilize, parts of the world like southern Africa are seeing an increase in cases. 

“In my mind, it’s inevitable that we will have a return of the virus or maybe it never went away,” he added. 

As states around the country take steps to reopen their economies, Fauci said testing, isolating those who are infected and tracing their contacts will be key in the coming months in keeping the number of projected deaths down to roughly 70,000 or 80,000. 

“If by that time we have put into place all of the countermeasures that you need to address this, we should do reasonably well,” Fauci said. “If we don’t do that successfully, we could be in for a bad fall and a bad winter.”

On Tuesday, Fauci said he believes the U.S. will have the testing capacity it needs by the end of May or early June. 

Currently, the U.S. has confirmed more than 1 million coronavirus cases with nearly 60,000 deaths. A model from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) estimates more than 72,000 deaths in the U.S. by August.


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Published on Apr 29, 2020