Fauci Says Coronavirus Won't Go 'Spontaneously' on Its Own, After Trump Claims It's 'Disappearing'

The coronavirus will not "spontaneously" disappear said Dr. Anthony Fauci, a leading infectious disease expert and member of the White House task force on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fauci, who has been director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since the 1980s, made the remarks on ABC's World News Tonight. Anchor David Muir asked Fauci to respond to a claim by President Donald Trump that the virus is "disappearing."

The top immunologist said the virus could be brought under control if certain steps are followed. Fauci has repeatedly stated that wearing masks, avoiding crowded places like bars, remembering outdoors is better than indoors, and washing hands are fundamental to tackling the virus.

"It's not going to [disappear] spontaneously by its own devices. We're going to have to act with public health effort, that's the way you get it. I believe it's achievable to get to a level that's quite controlled, so that we can open up the country and get the economy back," he said.

Pushing Fauci on the question, Muir said: "But at 50, 60, 70,000 cases a day it's not disappearing at the moment?"

Fauci said: "No it's not. I mean, all you've got to do is look at the data, David. The virus is telling us what it can and will do if we don't confront it."

In previous interviews, Fauci has said it is unlikely the virus will be eradicated. He told the Reuters news agency last week that with a vaccine that is moderately to highly effective combined with prudent public health measures "we can put this behind us."

He added: "I don't think we're going to eradicate this from the planet" because the virus is "highly transmissible."

Trump has repeatedly claimed the coronavirus will disappear, stating in February: "It's going to disappear. One day—it's like a miracle—it will disappear."

At a Press Conference in Bedminster, New Jersey on August 8, Trump said that job creation was occuring "even in a pandemic, which is disappearing, it's going to disappear."

On August 5, Trump told reporters at the White House the coronavirus is "going away, no, it'll go away like things go away. Absolutely. It's, uh, no question in my mind it will go away… Hopefully sooner rather than later."

Five months since the World Health Organization described the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic, the U.S. is leading the world in cases and deaths. Of the global total of over 20.2 million, the U.S. has more than 5.1 million diagnoses, according to Johns Hopkins University, with cases surging across the country. More than 164,000 people have died in the U.S., out of the worldwide total of over 741,000. On Tuesday, 46,808 cases were reported in the country.

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Director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies before the US Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing on COVID-19, at Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on June 23, 2020. KEVIN DIETSCH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images