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Fauci to tell House panel 'unclear' how long Covid-19 pandemic lasts

There's no end in sight to the coronavirus pandemic, Dr Anthony Fauci and other top government health experts will tell Congress on Friday.

Coronavirus | COVID-19 | healthcare

AP  |  Washington 

Coronavirus, doctors, hospitals, ventilators, covid

There's no end in sight to the pandemic, Dr Anthony Fauci and other top government health experts will tell Congress on Friday.

While it remains unclear how long the pandemic will last, activity will likely continue for some time, Fauci, along with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention head Dr. Robert Redfield and Health and Human Services testing czar Adm. Brett Giroir say in prepared testimony for a special House panel investigating the pandemic.

At a time when early progress seems to have been lost and uncertainty clouds the nation's path forward, Fauci, the government's top infectious disease expert, is calling on lawmakers and all other Americans to go back to public health basics such as social distancing and wearing masks.

The panel, the House Select Subcommittee on the Crisis, is divided about how to reopen schools and businesses, mirroring divisions among Americans.

A rebound of cases across the South and the West has dashed hopes for a quick return to normal life. Problems with the availability and timeliness of testing continue to be reported. And the race for a vaccine, though progressing rapidly, has yet to deliver a breakthrough.

Fauci's public message in recent days has been that Americans can't afford a devil-may-care attitude toward and need to double down on basic measures such as wearing masks in public, keeping their distance from and avoiding crowds and indoor spaces such as bars.

That's echoed by Redfield and Giroir, though they are far less prominent.

Fauci's dogged persistence has drawn the ire of some of President Donald Trump's supporters and prompted a new round of calls for his firing. But the veteran of battles against AIDS and Ebola has stuck to his message, while carefully avoiding open confrontations with the Trump

In an interview with The Associated Press earlier this week, Fauci said he was disturbed by the flat-out opposition in parts of the country to wearing masks as a public health protective measure.

There are certain fundamentals, he said, the staples of what you need to do ... one is universal wearing of masks. Public health experts say masks help prevent an infected person who has yet to develop symptoms from passing the virus to For mask wearers, there's also some evidence that they can offer a degree of protection from an infected person nearby.

Fauci said in his AP interview that he's concerned because the U.S. has not followed the track of Asian and European nations also hit hard by the

Other countries that shut down their economies knocked back uncontrolled spread and settled into a pattern of relatively few new cases, although they continued to experience local outbreaks. The U.S. also knocked back the initial spread, but it never got the background level of new cases quite as low. And the resurgence of in the Sunbelt in recent weeks has driven the number of new daily cases back up into the 60,000-70,000 range.

It coincided with economic reopening and a return to social gatherings, particularly among younger adults. Growing numbers of emergency room visits, hospitalizations and deaths have followed as grim consequences.

Nearly 4.5 million Americans have been infected since the start of the pandemic, and more than 150,000 have died, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, July 31 2020. 16:01 IST