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Fauci: Improved testing and tracing can help reopen country

Fauci: Improved testing and tracing can help reopen country
© getty: Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

Dr. Anthony FauciAnthony FauciSix notable moments from Trump and Biden's '60 Minutes' interviews Pence travel questioned after aides test positive Fauci: We'll know whether a vaccine is safe, effective by early December MORE said Wednesday that improved coronavirus testing and tracing of infected people's contacts will help the country eventually be able to ease up on measures such as stay-at-home orders. 

Fauci, a top official at the National Institutes of Health, said during a White House briefing that he would like to see enough capacity to test a wide range of people and the ability to determine who those that test positive have been in contact with.

That would help create a targeted approach and allow the country to ease up on blunter efforts currently in place, including stay-at-home orders. 

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"The one thing we hopefully would have in place, and I believe we will have in place, is a much more robust system to be able to identify someone who's infected, isolate them and then do contact tracing," Fauci said.

"If you have a really good program of containment, that prevents you from ever having to get into mitigation. We're in mitigation right now," he added. 

Other experts have echoed Fauci's comments, saying that widespread testing is key for the country to return to normalcy and reopen businesses. That kind of capability will allow any infected people to be quickly identified and then isolated. 

In the absence of that, the country is instead implementing communitywide measures to slow the spread of the virus. 

Fauci noted, though, that the situation has to improve significantly, with few new cases, before the wider-scale measures can be eased.

He has also warned that a second wave of the virus could occur, although the country would be more prepared at that point.  

"The ultimate solution to a virus that might keep coming back would be a vaccine," Fauci said.