Fauci speaks out on how bad pandemic could get

Dr. Anthony Fauci reacts on “GMA” to the latest rise in COVID-19 cases and what that means for the country’s future.
7:04 | 07/28/20

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Transcript for Fauci speaks out on how bad pandemic could get
We are joined by Dr. Anthony Fauci. Thank you for joining us this morning. I got to say this is not the way I expected to start the interview but I have to have you respond to those tweets from president trump that were taken down overnight. First on that one that said you don't need masks, there is a cure, it's called hydroxychloroquine, can you just clarify for our viewers the best scientific guidance we have on masks and hydroxychloroquine? We should all be wearing masks outside, George. This is something that as you heard Dr. Birx mention when she was making a comment. It's very important. There are certain fundamental things we should be doing, particularly if you happen to be in an area where there's viral activity. Wear masks all the time when you're outside. Social distancing, six feet at least. Avoid crowds. Close bars in areas where there's viral activity and do hand hygiene. There's no question about that so that's something that's not really arguable. How about hydroxychloroquine, the president promoting effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine. We know the fda has recommended against emergency use. Right. Right, exactly and I go along with the fda. The overwhelming prevailing clinical trials that have looked at the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine have indicated that it is not effective in coronavirus disease. And one of the retweets from the president also accuses you of misleading the public on many issues. You've been at the nih since 1984. You've advised six presidents. Can you continue to do your job when the president of the united States is publicly questioning your credibility in this way? You know, George, I don't know how to address that. I'm just going to certainly continue doing my job. You know, I don't tweet. I don't even read them so I don't really want to go there. I just will continue to do my job no matter what comes out because I think it's very important. We're in the middle of a crisis with regard to a pandemic, and this is what I've been trained for and I'll continue to do it. To the charge you've been misleading the American public? I have not been misleading the American public under any circumstances. Let's talk about re-opening right now. Which states are you most concerned about? You know, I mean obviously the southern states that really actually had a major surge. Florida, Texas, Arizona, California, they appear, I hope and it looks like they may be cresting in coming back down, what I'm concerned about is what Dr. Birx mentioned just a little bit ago is that some of the other states, the Ohios, Indianas, Tennessees, Kentuckys that are starting to have that very early indication that the percent of cases regarding the number of tests that you have, that it's going up. That can a surefire sign you've got to really be careful and you've got to -- if you are trying to open up, please do it in a way that's in accordance with the guidelines. The guidelines that we carefully put together sometime ago. If you do that carefully and you do the fundamentals that I mentioned just a moment ago, George, I think we can prevent the surges that we've seen in the southern states because we just can't afford yet again another surge. Yet as you know the governor of Tennessee simply said he's not prepared to go along with what Dr. Birx said and at the same time president trump yesterday saying some states should be thinking about re-opening. Do we need a coordinated national strategy, all going in the same direction? You know, George, if you look at the guidelines, the way we put them out sometime ago, that really is the national strategy. This was the recommendation that was made saying here's what you need to do. If you're at this level, you wait until you have a period of time over 14 days where it comes then you graduate to the next if you do well there, you go to the next phase. Obviously as you've mentioned, some states are not doing that we would hope they all rethink what happens when you don't adhere to that we've seen it in plain sight in the southern states that surge. So we've got to get back to a very prudent advance from one stage to another. Let's talk about sports. We've seen that outbreak in the Miami marlins, can the baseball season continue? You know, I don't know. I hope so, George, because I know that major league baseball, the players, the owners, the managers have put a lot of effort into getting together and putting protocols that we feel would work. It's very unfortunate what happened with the Miami dolphins, it's just -- first of all, I'm concerned. I hope the players are all right. I heard about a dozen of them have gotten infected. Even though they're young, investigate Ross and very healthy I hope they're okay but you just interest to watch this. This could put it in danger. I don't believe they need to stop but we need to follow this and see what happens with other teams on a day-by-day basis. I know you meant the marlins. You said the dolphins. I meant the -- I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Sorry. Sorry, George. I totally get that. But I do want to ask about football because as we look forward to the football season, the preseason has been canceled. Is football going to have to do what the NBA is doing if they're going to have a season? Will they have to be in a bubble? You know, they might. Again, George, I hate to make determinations on that because there are people who are involved with the teams that are putting a lot of work and a lot of consideration in. It might be that they have to go in a bubble but I think they're conscientious enough and want to protect their players and the personnel that they will do the right thing. Finally let me ask you about vaccines. We saw that modern trial begin yesterday. I know you say you're cautiously optimistic. What should people expect? You know, George, when I say I'm cautiously optimistic, I mean that. The reason I say that is that the phase 3 trial as you know started yesterday. The early data on phase 1 which was fundamentally safety but enough for us to see the kind of response that this vaccine induces in individuals and it induced a level of antibodies which are the proteins that fight the virus at a level that was quite high in the sense of it was comparable, if not better, than what we see in the recovery from natural infection and that's really one of the issues when you're dealing with vaccines, if you can induce a response that is at least as good as natural infection, that is a good predictor that you're going to have a vaccine that works. Obviously the proof of the pudding is you've got to do the trial. It's a large trial, 30,000 people are going to be in the trial. That will give us the answer and, yes, I am cautiously optimistic as we get into the late fall and early winter we will have an answer and I believe it will be positive. Dr. Fauci, thanks for your time this morning. Thank you, George. Thank you for having me.

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

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