Dr. Anthony Fauci reviews latest approach to reopening US

Dr. Fauci shares the latest updates surrounding the country's plans for coronavirus as well as possibilities of a second wave.
6:14 | 04/20/20

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Transcript for Dr. Anthony Fauci reviews latest approach to reopening US
Let's bring in Dr. Anthony Fauci now for more on this. Dr. Fauci, thank you for joining us again this morning. We just heard what whit said about vice president pence but we heard from governor after governor yesterday including Larry hogan of Maryland, your neighbor, saying that the governors just don't have what they need now to do the testing they need to do. Yeah. Well certainly I can empathize with the governor and believe what we need to do is make a better connectivity with the tests that are available as well as the capacity that in some cases is not used, through no fault of the governor or the local people, that there are now -- should be between one and a half to two-plus million tests per week. There are people out there who say we need more, we need maybe two or three times that. We're striving for that goal but in the meantime with what we have, if it is used strategically, we feel we would be able to have most people enter into phase one after they pass that 14-day period. We know it's a problem and was just mentioned, there are things that are obstacles in the way, that George, we need a partnership between the federal government and the local people including the governors to help them get to things that they maybe not have any access to. So it really does need -- yeah. I was just saying, we know there are some supply chain issues but you mentioned those experts who believe we need to be doing far more. There's a new study out from Harvard this morning that says we're going need to be doing nearly 5 million tests a day to 20 million tests to re-open as soon as the summer. We're only doing about 150,000 tests a day right now. Yeah. We're doing about one and a half to two million per week. We need to get up to at least maybe two times that, three times that, but we will as we go into the coming weeks, looking forward as regions, states, cities start to go from the gate to the phase one and then ultimately, hopefully, to phase two and three. So we're certainly going to need more. I think the issue, George, is that not saying that the people out there are not correct in what they feel they need because they do need a baseline amount to do the kind of testing that would allow identification, isolation and contact tracing. If you talk about tests for doing a lot of other things which ultimately are important but they're not absolutely critical to get to that situation where you can identify, isolate and contact trace, there's got to be a meeting of the two. There's got to be more supply, greater access to untapped capacity which there are, and, you know, the governors do say appropriately maybe there's untapped capacity but how do we get to it. So we've really got to help them to get to it and that's what's being done right now to try to make the connectivity between what's unused capacity as well as tests within that capacity to help them. We've got to keep going. It's got to be done together really in a partnership. Everyone is also wondering about antibody tests. We know governor Cuomo in new York is expanding antibody tests and we've seen that overseas as well but explain to everyone at home what those antibody tests can show and what they can't show. Yeah, George, thank you for giving me the opportunity to address that because there really is a lot of misunderstanding about antibody tests. Antibody tests do not say whether you have the virus now. It's saying whether you were exposed, infected, and likely recovered from the infection. What it is is a measure of the proteins in the body that respond to the virus in question. The problem is that these are tests that need to be validated and calibrated, and many of the tests out there don't do that. So even though you hear about companies saying flooding the market with these antibody tests, a lot of them are not validated. Point number one. Point number two that's important is that we do not know exactly what an antibody means. There's an assumption, a reasonable assumption, that when you have an antibody that you are protected against reinfection, but that has not been proven for this particular virus. I think it's a reasonable assumption so you wouldn't say that's an absurd idea. It isn't. It happens with other viruses, but we don't know how long that protection, if it exists, lasts. Is it one month, three months, six months, a year? So the assumption that with the tests that are out there, if you have an antibody positivity you're good to go, unless that test has been validated and you can show there's a correlation between the antibody and protection, it is an assumption to say that this is something that we can work with. We still have a way to go with them. Finally, sir, we're seeing these protests crop up across the country including protests in Texas and other places where they're saying fire Anthony Fauci, Fauci is wrong. They're resisting these stay-at-home orders from governors. What's your message back to those protestors? Yeah, I mean, I think the message is that clearly this is something that is hurting from the standpoint of economics, from the standpoint of things that have nothing to do with the virus. But unless we get the virus under control, the real recovery economically is not going to happen, so what you do if you jump the gun and go into a situation where you have a big spike, you're going to set yourself back. So as painful as it is to go by the careful guidelines of gradually phasing into a re-opening, it's going to that's the problem. Dr. Fauci, thanks for your time again this morning. Good to see you, George, thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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