Fauci: 'Cautiously optimistic' US could have coronavirus vaccine by late fall

But if the future looks encouraging, public health alarms are still going off in the present.

Fauci's testimony at a hearing of the U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee on the coronavirus crisis came at the end of a month in which U.S. coronavirus deaths rose by nearly 25,000 and cases doubled in at least 18 states, according to a Reuters tally, dealing a crushing blow to hopes of quickly reopening the economy. Also testifying was Robert Redfield, Trump's pick to lead the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Adm. Brett Giroir, Trump's coordinator for testing efforts at the Department of Health and Human Services.

"We feel cautiously optimistic that we will have a vaccine by the end of this year and as we go into 2021", Dr. Fauci said. I don't think it's dreaming. Tens of thousands of people will need to be recruited for all of the vaccine trials that show promise. But he's avoided open confrontations with the White House.

Trials are pivotal for establishing the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines. Several candidates are being tested. He said there will be a priority list based on recommendations from scientific advisers. Topping the list could be critical workers, such as as medical personnel, or vulnerable groups of people such as older adults with other underlying health problems.

Fauci said, "We hope that by the time we get into late fall and early winter, we will have in fact a vaccine that we can say that would be safe and effective".

Fauci repeated his long-held assertion that any protest, campaign rally or religious gathering poses a health risk and that indoor events are more risky than outdoor ones.

The hearing came as the number of new COVID-19 cases keep appearing at a worrisome pace, expanding from hot spots in the deep South to places like OH and Indiana.

The three officials appeared before a special House panel investigating the government's pandemic response, itself sharply divided along party lines. More than 150,000 Americans have died. In recent weeks the virus has rebounded in the South and West, and now upticks are being seen in the Midwest.

Rapid, widespread testing is critical to containing the coronavirus outbreak, but the US effort has been plagued by supply shortages and backlogs since the earliest days of the outbreak. It makes it easier for public health workers to trace the contacts of an infected person.

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Dr. Anthony Fauci delivers his opening statement as he testifies in front of the House of Representatives' special select committee investigating the coronavirus.

A top Democrat lawmaker is calling on the Trump administration to release a comprehensive plan to combat the coronavirus, blasting the national response effort as the USA death toll recently surpassed 150,000. But we have seen all kinds of stuff like that during protests and we know that protests actually increase the spread of the virus.

Jordan said that Dr. Fauci makes recommendations all of the time, and pressed him on why he wouldn't made an opinion on this topic. Should we try to limit the protest?"Jordan asked".

"That study is a flawed study", said Fauci, stressing it wasn't a randomized, placebo-controlled trial and that patients also received corticosteroids, which in a separate study exhibited benefits for seriously ill patients.

Jordan claimed that allowing protests while church services in some states have been scaled back due to the spread of the virus was "inconsistent".

"I'm not in a position to determine what the government can do in a forceful way", Fauci responded.

"And I don't judge one crowd versus another crowd".

Fauci's warnings about the scope and dangers of the outbreak have drawn the ire of some of President Trump's supporters and prompted calls for his firing.

Watch Clyburn's remarks in the player above. That caught the president's eye. "We started off with a very hard baseline of transmission that was going on at the time that we tried to open up the country, what we saw particularly most recently in the southern states was an increase of cases to 20, 30, 40, 50 thousand, and a couple of weeks ago it was up to 70,000 per day and now it's down between 50 and 60, and the reasons for that are complex".

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