Officials in cities across the United States are entering different phases of reopening amid demonstrations against police brutality.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases tells Inside the Issues, when it comes to the decisions California has been making, Governor Gavin Newsom and other health officials in the state have handled the pandemic “quite well.”
“From what I'm seeing now, you are all doing well and are going to be proceeding in a very measured fashion that would hopefully accomplish the goal of getting back to normal gradually, but also making sure that the paramount consideration is the safety and the welfare of the people of California,” he said.
When it comes to reopening the different parts of California, Dr. Fauci said he has confidence in the state officials, but some areas will open at different speeds than others.
“There may be areas of California in which you want to be a little bit more careful because if you look at the cases and the dynamics, it might not be going down in the fashion that you like to see it, may be a bit more [cautious] about what you're doing,” he said.
Dr. Fauci still recommends everyone wear a mask, continue to socially distance and keep the same precautions as before, even though shops and restaurants are open.
“Those are the common denominators that whether you’re in Northern California and Southern California or somewhere in the middle, those are the kind of things that you should be doing,” he said. “I'm sure that that's what's going to be essentially articulated by the people who are going to be involved in guiding you through this reopening.”
In recent demonstrations against police brutality all across the nation, many people have been seen wearing masks, but not necessarily keeping a safe distance from each other while yelling, chanting and singing.
From a health standpoint and as a public health official, Dr. Fauci is concerned what this might mean for the spread of the coronavirus.
“As a physician and someone whose job is to do what I can to help maintain the safety and the health of all the people, including the people in California, I am concerned about what happens when you get together in a congregation of a demonstration because it is very difficult, if not impossible, to maintain the kind of physical separation that’s recommended,” he said.
While Dr. Fauci said it is risky, he understands the importance of what demonstrators are working toward, and encourages people to wear a mask.
“Please, if you possibly can, leave your mask on to avoid the kind of interaction and exchange of aerosols and droplets and things that could cause infection,” he said. “You don't want to be saying, ‘Do not demonstrate’ because you know that people are so involved in the social aspects that they’re going to do it anyway.”
According to Dr. Fauci, they are quickly making progress in the development of a COVID-19 vaccine, it is not at the expense of safety.
Dr. Fauci said they are planning for a current vaccine to enter into phase 3 of testing in the beginning of July. Phase 3 is the last phase before the vaccine can be reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration and then distributed to patients across the United States.
“I believe that if we get the trial going this summer, we will collect enough data by the Fall and early Winter, that by the end of this calendar year, we may know that a vaccine works and have doses to distribute and likely well into the early part of 2021,” he said.
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