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Dr. Fauci Says "It Didn't Have to Be This Bad"

The outbreak did “not necessarily have to have been inevitable.”

More than 213,000 COVID-related deaths. More than 7.65 million cases. Those numbers are rising again in every state but two. And that's just in America—worldwide, more than a million people have died. The coronavirus outbreak has touched every one of us and we're not out of the woods yet. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert and member of the Coronavirus Task Force, spoke with Judy Woodruff of PBS News Hour about why so many people had to die—and how to prevent more deaths. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.

Why Have There Been So Many Infections? And How Can We Slow Them Down?

"Was it inevitable," asked Woodruff.

"I don't think so, Judy," he answered. "I mean, obviously, this is a formidable virus that has an extraordinary capability of being transmitted from person to person. But the kind of outbreak that we had in the United States and that many other countries have had does not necessarily have to have been inevitable."

"Certainly, there would be a considerable number of infections, but, right now, if you look at where we are, we have a baseline of daily infections at about 40,000," he says. "It's kind of stuck there at 40,000. That's of concern to me, because, as we enter the cooler months of the fall and the colder months of the winter, to be able to contain infection, when people are more indoors than they are outdoors, is going to be problematic."

"And," he warns, "we're going to have to double down on the things that we likely should have done consistently"—he mentioned "the universal wearing of masks, avoiding close contact, avoiding crowded situations, trying to do things outdoors much more than indoors, and washing your hands regularly." "But, if you look at the response as a whole, there really has been inconsistency. You recall, when we had the big spikes that went up to 70,000 cases per day, there were some states that didn't abide by the checkpoint and the phase one, phase two, phase three guidelines. And then, to their own credit, and to be fair to them, there were some states that [did] try to do it right. It didn't have to be this bad, if we had done it in a way where people uniformly abided by the public health measures that we have been talking about consistently essentially every day."

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Will President Trump Recover?

Fauci was also asked about President Trump's condition. Although not directly involved in his medical care, he said: "Well, right now, he looks good, and, according to his report, he feels good. It is entirely conceivable that he is already well on his way to being out of the woods. The one thing that his physicians are well aware of and anyone who takes care of COVID-19 patients are aware of is that this is a strange type of a virus, because you can feel good for a few days in a row, and then you could have a really unexpected downturn, where your condition worsens."

"I hope that doesn't happen," he added. "It's unlikely it will, but it has happened in the past to people, which is the reason why his physicians are aware of that and are making sure they're monitoring it. Even though he's out, in a sense, in the White House doing things and working, he still needs to be careful that he doesn't relapse. So, we're hoping he doesn't. I don't think he will, but it's conceivable that he might." As for yourself: To get through this pandemic at your healthiest, follow Fauci's fundamentals—wear your face mask, don't congregate indoors, wash your hands, get your flu shot—and don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more about Alek