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Fauci: 'I certainly don't think we're near the end of this'

Fauci: 'I certainly don't think we're near the end of this'
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Anthony FauciAnthony FauciOvernight Health Care: Biden unveils COVID-19 relief plan | Post-holiday surge hits new deadly records | Senate report faults 'broken' system for insulin price hikes Should there be a 'Secretary of Thought'? Post-holiday COVID-19 surge hits new deadly records MORE, the U.S.'s top virologist, signaled that the coronavirus pandemic, which has already killed over 140,000 people in the country, is far from being over.

“It’s a moving target,” the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told Market Watch in an interview published Friday. “I certainly don’t think we’re near the end of this if you look at what’s going on in the United States, that’s for sure.”

Fauci, a key member of the White House coronavirus task force, has been thrust into the national spotlight during the pandemic. He has stressed that Americans should wear masks while out in public, a position that has been criticized by some.

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"We’ve really got to make it very clear. If you want to pick three or four or five very simple tools that could have a major impact on turning around the outbreak," Fauci explained.

He added: "Wearing a mask is definitely one of them, as is physical distancing, as is avoiding crowds, as is closing bars, as is washing your hands. I’m pleading with people to consider doing this consistently because, you’re right, if half of people don’t do it, it kind of negates the overall purpose."

There has been friction at times between the doctor and President TrumpDonald TrumpCIA chief threatened to resign over push to install Trump loyalist as deputy: report Azar in departure letter says Capitol riot threatens to 'tarnish' administration's accomplishments Justice Dept. argues Trump should get immunity from rape accuser's lawsuit MORE on messaging, but on Tuesday the president shifted his tone and encouraged all Americans to wear a mask.

“We’re asking everybody that when you are not able to socially distance, wear a mask,” Trump said. “Whether you like the mask or not, they have an impact. They’ll have an effect, and we need everything we can get.”

Fauci told Market Watch that he didn't see the briefing, but was "very pleased" to see the president asking Americans to wear masks.

“I think he’s made a very good choice," Fauci said. "He’s embracing masking, he’s embracing physical distancing, and that’s a very good thing.”