Anthony Fauci, the top US epidemiologist, said Tuesday in a warning that will be heard around the world that the Covid-19 pandemic, “isn’t over yet”.
“Now we have something that turns out indeed to be my worst nightmare,” Fauci said at a virtual conference held by Biotechnology Innovation Organization. “In a period of four months, it has devastated the world; 110,000 deaths in the US. There’s millions and millions of infections worldwide. And it isn’t over yet.”
The United States, which has been rolling back social distancing measures steadily, is close to crossing the 2 million mark for Covid-19 infections, with 1.97 million Wednesday morning. Fatalities are more than 122,000, with 683 in the past 24 hours.
Fauci has been cautioning against hasty withdrawal of the social distancing norms that are understood to have prevented many more deaths in the United States. Though he is a member of a task force set up by President Donald Trump to lead the fight against the epidemic here, Fauci has been odds with the president, who is in a hurry to reopen the economy and get it going full throttle again with an eye on his election prospects.
The public health measures in place are only going to work so much to prevent the spread of the deadly virus. But the world needs is a vaccine, or more to get ahead of it. The virus will no “”urn itself out with mere public health measures”, he said, adding, “We’re going to need a vaccine for the entire world, billions and billions of doses”.
There are three leading vaccine candidates, among the more than 100 in the works, that have the world’s eyes on them. Moderna is expected start final trials on its vaccine in July; Oxford University and AstraZeneca are looking at a September date for their end trials (with a partner Indian pharmaceutical company contracted to churn out the volumes needed) and Johnson & Johnson has moved up is first stage trials to July.