different” during a second wave of cases.
Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Monday at a White House press briefing that the US would be far better equipped to handle a second coronavirus outbreak after the summer months.
Asked whether the country would likely face another outbreak in the fall, Dr Fauci said: “In fact, I would anticipate that that would actually happen because of the degree of transmissibility.”
He added: “However, if you come back in the fall, it will be a totally different ballgame of what happened when we first got hit with it in the beginning of this year.”
“Our ability to go out and be able to test, identify, isolate, and contact trace, will be orders of magnitude better than what it was just a couple of months ago,” the doctor said.
He spoke as the US confirmed over 124,000 coronavirus cases nationwide and more than 2,100 deaths. The death toll for the novel virus doubled in a two-day span this week, as health officials warned hospital systems across the country were at or nearing their capacities.
The doctor noted ongoing clinical trials for potential treatments of the novel virus, and said the government should have a vaccine by the fall “that’s on track, and multiple other candidates” to cope with a second outbreak.
“What we’re going through right now is going to be more than just lessons learned,” he said. “It’s going to be things that we have available to use that we did not have before.”
The press briefing came as Donald Trump officially extended the White House self-isolation orders for a 30-day period, after health officials said his initial “15 days to slow the spread” initiative was not long enough to significantly “flatten the curve” and keep the nation’s health systems within capacity.
By Tuesday, Dr Fauci said the US was beginning to see “glimmers” of hope that shelter-at-home orders impacting more than 100 million Americans across the country was having an impact in slowing the spread of the deadly pandemic.
“We’re starting to see glimmers that that is actually having some dampening effect,” he said in an interview with CNN. “But that does not take away from the seriousness … We clearly are seeing cases going up.”