Fauci Says Turning Around U.S. COVID-19 Outbreaks is 'Not Rocket Science'

Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has warned young people are now fueling COVID-19 pandemic surges across the country, however believes that turning the tide and combating the virus spread is "not rocket science."

The respected physician spoke out this week as president Trump resumed White House briefings about the impact of the novel coronavirus, which has now infected more than 3.9 million people in the U.S. and been linked to over 142,000 U.S. deaths.

States including Florida, Texas, Arizona and California have noted surging case numbers in recent days, with hospitalizations rising and health systems strained.

Dr. Fauci, who has led the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) since 1984, made his own stance known this week in multiple media appearances: the situation is serious, but can still be contained with some simple steps.

"There are really some fundamental things, some principles, that if we implemented I believe we can turn this around in those southern states which are getting hit really hard right now... there are really some key issues," he said in an interview with CNN.

"The universal wearing of masks, close the bars, stay physically distant, outdoors is better than indoors particularly if you are going to have restaurants sparsely seat people separated from each other, wash your hands, the really fundamental things, it's not rocket science. If we all did it uniformly I believe we could turn things around.

"We have shown that when you do those things, particularly the physical distancing and the universal use of masks, that you can turn around the kind of surges we have seen."

In a separate interview with The New York Times this week, Dr. Fauci reiterated a stark warning that COVID-19 does not only affect the elderly or those with underlying health conditions, but younger generations are missing "something fundamental."

He said: "By getting infected themselves—even if they never get a symptom—they are part of the propagation of a pandemic. They are fueling the pandemic."

"We have to keep hammering that home, because, as much as they do that, they're completely relinquishing their societal responsibility," Dr. Fauci added.

The health expert told CNN he had last spoken with the president around last Thursday, indicating he did not personally brief him for yesterday's briefing.

When Trump emerged on Tuesday afternoon, he was not flanked by any public health experts as before. He claimed "the vaccines are coming" but appeared to echo some of Dr. Fauci's comments, highlighting the dangers posed by younger U.S. residents.

He warned the situation will probably "get worse before it gets better."

"Young adults may often have mild or even no symptoms. They won't even know they're sick. They won't have any idea that they have a virus," the president said.

"They won't have any idea at all. America's youth will act responsibly, and we're asking everybody that when you are not able to socially distance, wear a mask, get a mask. Whether you like the mask or not, they have an impact. They'll have an effect."

Anthony Fauci
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, gives a thumbs up during the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington DC on June 30, 2020 in Washington,DC. AL DRAGO/POOL/AFP/Getty