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National Institutes of Health infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci — a member of President Trump’s coronavirus task force — told “Bill Hemmer Reports” Friday that it is unclear when the virus will reach its peak and begin to subside in the U.S.
Hemmer asked Fauci about the possibility of Easter Sunday, April 12, being a day of “American resurrection” when people may be able return their lives to normal.
“I can’t predict what the situation would be,” he said. “I think we need to be prepared to modify behavior, even when it involves things that are very close to our hearts.”
In recent days, the governors of California, New York and Illinois have issued so-called “stay at home” orders discouraging residents from going outside in order to reduce the spread of the virus.
In addition, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf issued a sweeping executive order Thursday banning the operation of “non-life-sustaining” businesses throughout the Commonwealth — shuttering state-owned liquor stores and private businesses like hairdressers, tax preparers, car dealerships and real estate agencies.
“If you look at China, at what happened in South Korea and Italy, you see that the outbreak putters along and then it goes way up, peaks, then comes down,” Fauci told Hemmer. “The height of peak and duration is influenced by the things you do to mitigate it. That’s why we’re doing it right now, the separation of people.
“But a typical duration of an outbreak is measured in a few weeks,” Fauci went on. “The China one was 6-8 weeks before it was really weighted down … there’s no question when you look at the various models, it is going to be a few weeks.”
Earlier in the interview, Hemmer noted the stark differences in the way various regions of the country have been experiencing the contagion.
He noted that Fauci’s home state of New York differed from his own home state of Ohio — in that New York City and parts of Westchester have seen exponential increases in infections.
“That’s the reason why you have to be somewhat proportionate in what you do,” Fauci said. “A few days ago, last week, we put out a list of guidelines that people should follow, such as getting people who are elderly or with underlying conditions and essentially have them stay at home and not be outside physically. There were guidelines about avoiding crowds.”
The doctor also emphasized the importance of “limiting visits from outside into nursing homes.
“I know you want to see loved ones, but you shouldn’t have anything but absolutely necssary visits,” Fauci went on.
Hemmer also asked Fauci his opinion of the drug hydroxychloroquine after he appeared to tamp down President Trump’s optimism about the drug’s potential to treat coronavirus during an earlier briefing.
“I’m not dismissing it at all, and I hope that interpretation wasn’t widespread,” the doctor answered, but added that there was “no definitieve proof it works.”
“So what we need to do is get it availablle but do it in the context of a protocol … I wasn’t dismissing, I was saying we would be careful.”