'The cavalry is on the way': Fauci says Americans should 'double down' on COVID-19 precautions as we reach the final stretch before the first vaccines
GRAEME JENNINGS / POOL / AFP via Getty Images
This month, Moderna, BioNTech and Pfizer announced that their COVID-19 vaccine candidates have passed phase 3 testing.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading expert on COVID-19, said Americans should view the breakthroughs as another reason to tackle "COVID fatigue" at the New York Times' DealBook conference Tuesday.
"The cavalry is on its way," said Fauci.
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Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, warned Americans not to "double up" public health measures because of "the light at the end of the tunnel" and promising developments in the COVID-19 vaccine Run.
"We have been fortunate that science has given us at least two, and probably more, vaccines that are highly effective and safe," the country's foremost COVID-19 expert told the New York Times' DealBook conference Tuesday. "There is light at the end of the tunnel."
Over the past two weeks, Pfizer, BioNTech, and Moderna have released promising results from Phase 3 testing of their COVID-19 vaccine candidates.
Last week, Pfizer and BioNTech announced that preliminary analysis showed their vaccine candidate was over 90% effective against the COVID-19 virus. Then, on Monday, Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotech company Moderna announced that its vaccine was 94.5% effective against COVID-19. Two days later, Pfizer and BioNTech announced updated results from their study, which found their vaccine was 95% effective against the COVID-19 virus.
While these vaccine trials have given plenty of reason for hope, the case numbers and deaths have been more sobering this week: 166,272 cases per day and an average of about 1,200 deaths per day, according to the New York Times.
Read More: Pharmacies, Doctor's Offices, and Hospitals Prepare to Provide Coronavirus Vaccines to Millions of Americans. Here's how to prepare and how much it can benefit you.
Fauci warned Tuesday that people around the world are feeling "covid fatigue," which means that after months of quarantine, they are tired of social distancing and other public health measures.
"I speak to my colleagues in Italy, in the UK," said Fauci. "They tell us the same thing."
Americans should step up their social distancing efforts, however, especially in light of promising news in the vaccine space, Fauci told The New York Times' Andrew Ross Sorkin.
"The cavalry is on its way," said Fauci. "Rather than abandon public health action, let's say, 'Now that the end is in sight, it's time to double up.'"
Fauci stressed that families will need to conduct a risk assessment in the upcoming vacation. Fauci said he and his wife would be having a little Thanksgiving dinner and wishing their daughters a happy Thanksgiving through Zoom instead of meeting in person.
"If you have vulnerable people in your family this special holiday season, do you really want to take the risk of endangering a loved one?" he said. "My daughters, who are adult working women in different parts of the country, have made a decision ... they want to protect their father."
The Food and Drug Administration has not yet approved the vaccine candidates from Moderna or Pfizer / BioNTech. In addition, the results of the vaccine trials were not peer-reviewed. In an important next step, Pfizer and BioNTech announced that they would apply for an emergency clearance with the FDA on Friday. Moderna has yet to submit, but will likely do so in the next few days.
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