Story at a glance

  • “I do not believe it would disappear because it’s such a highly transmissible virus,” Fauci said.
  • Top health officials said during the hearing that the virus would likely continue spreading for some time.
  • Fauci said he was “cautiously optimistic” that a COVID-19 vaccine will be ready by the end of this year and widely distributed to Americans in early 2021.

Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease doctor, on Friday said during a House hearing that the coronavirus is so contagious it’s likely it won’t ever completely go away, contradicting President Trump’s previous comments that the virus will “just disappear.” 

“I do not believe it would disappear because it’s such a highly transmissible virus,” Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis. 


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Fauci and other top health officials said during the hearing that the virus would likely continue spreading for some time, although Fauci said he was “cautiously optimistic” that a COVID-19 vaccine will be ready by the end of this year and widely distributed to Americans in early 2021. 

“There’s never a guarantee that you’re going to get a safe and effective vaccine, but from everything we’ve seen now in the animal data, as well as the early human data, we feel cautiously optimistic that we will have a vaccine by the end of this year and as we go into 2021,” he said. 

Phase three trials just began for a potential COVID-19 vaccine developed by Moderna in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health. This phase will help determine whether the vaccine is safe and effective. 

The U.S. continues to lead the world in the number of cases and deaths, surpassing 150,000 coronavirus-related fatalities on Wednesday and tallying more than 4.4 million infections since the outbreak began. New cases Wednesday rose above 60,000 while more than 1,400 Americans died from the virus. 

The virus has infected more than 17 million people and killed more than 674,000 worldwide.

Published on Jul 31, 2020