Dr. Fauci explains new coronavirus timeline through April

Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, explains the latest timeline and expectations around COVID-19 in the U.S. as well as Trump’s change of course.
6:13 | 03/30/20

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Transcript for Dr. Fauci explains new coronavirus timeline through April
Let's bring in a man now who's become familiar to all of us, America's top expert on infectious disease, Dr. Anthony Fauci. Dr. Fauci, thank you for your time this morning and for your tireless service over these last several weeks and years. As we heard from the president all last week, he was hoping that we could re-open the country by Easter, but of course we saw that extension of the guidelines yesterday. Take us inside that decision. What convinced the president it was necessary? What convinced you? Well, it was clear, George, that the dynamics of the outbreak, what was going on in cities like New York City and westchester and New Orleans and others, was clearly still on an uptick, and to pull back the mitigation methods before you reach the peak and turned the corner I think really would have been imprudent because that would have regenerated the spike to go up. So we had some intensive conversations with him and we convinced him. He listened and we said the better part of valor would be to extend them to the end of April when we think it would peak and come down. If we prematurely did it, it would likely rebound and that's one thing you did not want to happen. The president seemed to say yesterday that the models estimate the peak death rate in two weeks, so which is it? Is it two weeks from now or the end of April? What he was saying, the number of deaths would probably peak by a certain point, but you still get a number of cases that go up which will ultimately lead to less death rates because the cases anticipate the death rates. What he was saying, that we had such a surge earlier that within two weeks you were going to have a peak in the death rates. The death rates start coming down but you have another curve which is actually the new infections. So they're complicated curves that overlap each other. And the death rate numbers are pretty stunning. I mean, 100 to 200,000 lives could be lost. Are you all estimating that even if these guidelines are extended? Yeah. Even if these guidelines are extended, we will lose more people. Exactly how many more we would lose is uncertain, depending upon the efficiency of the mitigation methods. But clearly, what you saw yesterday and the day before, within one day we doubled the number of deaths. I mean, it was just really very, very sobering. It is sobering and of course all of us here in New York are dealing with it. New York has been described as the epicenter of this virus here in the United States right now. What other areas are concerning you right now? Well certainly New Orleans, George, is in that area where it's worrisome because the spike and the peak and the dynamics of that curve are starting to resemble a bit of New York. It's a smaller city obviously so they can't be totally comparable, but the dynamics of the outbreak in New Orleans are worrisome. We're also worried about Detroit. Detroit is starting to show some signs that they're going to take off. L.A. We worry about even though they had an early start, calmed down a little. It looks like that they may have the opportunity and the miss -- misfortune of spiking up. There are a number of other smaller cities that are percolating along, a couple hundred cases. The slope doesn't look like it's going up. What we've learned from painful experience with this outbreak is that it goes along almost on a straight line. Then you have a little celebration. Then it goes way, way up. We've seen that in New York. Our European colleagues have seen it in Italy and France and Germany and in Spain, and it's a rather consistent pattern. It looks like it's low level. It starts to accelerate and then it really goes up. That's the thing we really got to be careful of. We're going to have all of these mini outbreaks throughout various cities in our country. Given that spread, the president said he hopes to have the United States well on the way to recovery by June 1st, would that take extending these guidelines beyond the end of April? I think April might do it, George, but we kept an open mind. When we presented it to the president we said 30 days is a solid. I think we should do it. 15 days was too little. None of us felt that 15 days was adequate. When he asked the obvious question which is a reasonably good question, do you think there's a possibility that we may be able to go past 30 days, we said we didn't think so but there's always that possibility depending upon the efficiency and the effectiveness of the mitigation methods. Finally, sir, what's your best hope right now for getting treatments on the market as quickly as possible and a possible vaccine? Well, we have a couple of clinical trials that are accruing now over 200 patients with one drug called remdesivir. I would think by early summer, late spring, we would get a signal on one of those drugs to see whether it works or not. If it does we'll widely distribute it. If it doesn't, we'll get it off the shelf, off the table, because it won't be usable. But we have the opportunity to prove one or more of them are actually working and that's going to be a matter of a couple of months. Vaccine a little bit different, George. We're in a phase one trial. We went into it as quickly as we possibly could, the fastest ever, but still the process at rocket speed takes about a year to a year and a half. So if we cycle with this outbreak and it comes back next fall and winter, we might have the early components of a vaccine ready to counter that outbreak likely next winter. Dr. Fauci, thanks for your time this morning. Good to be with you, George. I hope all of our viewers understand Dr. Fauci's history. He is the definition of a public servant, serving as head of infectious disease since 1984, six presidents, and has always been a calm voice of reason and candor and science. And he certainly has through this trying time.

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

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