Dr. Fauci on how new travel bans could affect spread of new COVID-19 variants

President Biden's chief medical advisor discusses the incoming restrictions for countries with prominent mutations of the virus and what these emerging strains could mean for Americans.
5:08 | 01/25/21

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Transcript for Dr. Fauci on how new travel bans could affect spread of new COVID-19 variants
We're joined by the president's chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci. Thanks for joining us again this morning. We've seen this announcement of the travel ban from south Africa. At this point, are they going to do any good? I believe so, George. I think that was a prudent decision. Because right now, even though our surveillance isn't as comprehensive as we'd like it, it doesn't appear that this particular mutant is in the United States. It may well be. If you have free in flow of the mutant, I believe the travel ban will be important in addition to having a situation where anybody coming into the country now is going to be required to have a negative test before they even get on the plane when they land, to have a degree of quarantine as well as another test. So, I believe it was prudent even though it's never perfect, there's always a possibility and even a likelihood of some slippage, but I think the ban, which was discussed very intensively by the group, was the right decision. Let's talk about these variants. You're concerned about the south African variant. We've gotten some evidence over the last several days that the uk variant is more deadly. Explain what we're finding. Yeah, at the beginning, George, when it was first studied spencively in the uk, the uk scientists made a statement which was clearly obvious -- that this was more easily spread, I.e. More transmissable, it didn't look like on a case by case basis that it was actually more virulent is the word they used, more likely to make you seriously ill or kill you, when they looked at the data they became convinced that it's a more virulent making it more fficult when you get to the point of serious disease and even death, so I believe their data. I haven't seen all of it, but from what I've heard I believe the data. Still seeing shortages of the vaccine all across the country. I know the president has issued a series of orders that are designed to increase vaccine production, what more can be done right now. I think it's exactly what the president is doing, we got to pull out all the stops, we got to find out -- you know, there's a lot of disparities that you see, for example, you may call up one group locally, the vaccine isn't getting into people's arms it's available, you make a call to another group and I say, we don't have enough vaccine we have people lined up. We have to find out at the local level what's going on and how to fix it. Because president Biden has said right from the beginning he's going to pull out all the stops, if things aren't working well, instead of blaming people we're going to try to fix it and jump all over it. That's what we're doing. It will take time. You'll hear about people who aren't get vaccinated who want it. We got 25 million cases over the last year, you've been under a lot of pressure over the last year, what's the number one change you've noticed between president Biden -- to president Biden from president trump. Very clear, articulated multiple times, the president has said it publicly, but in a private session, sitting down with him and the medical team, he's very serious. Science will rule. We'll go by the facts, evidence everyday and the data. If something is wrong, we'll try to fix it. We'll pull out the stops to get our arms around this. I mean, the idea that the president himself sits down with you and says, I want science to rule, go out and do everything we need to do to get it done is very refresh zblg you faced personal threats, you had one incident you opened up an E we lope and feared you were poisoned. Yeah, that was very traumatic but more so for my wife and my children, who really, really horrified by that, because for a while there, I said in the times article only three possibilities -- a hoax, which I was hoping and praying it was. It was anthrax or it was ricin, and I was dead. Until the FBI and the hazmat people figured out it was it was a very, very difficult. We're glad you're okay. Dr. Fauci, thanks for your time this morning. Good to be with you, George. Such a steady presence through a terrifying year. We'll move on now to capitol hill and that major step in the

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

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