Fauci describes 'rolling reentry' for US’ return to normal

He discussed with ABC News anchor David Muir how the U.S. could reopen and how citizens could get more tests.
6:29 | 04/16/20

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Transcript for Fauci describes 'rolling reentry' for US’ return to normal
But many of you want to know how and when will we reopen the country. As we continue our series on what is next for America? Will we be ready with tests? Can you catch this virus twice? The new headlines tonight. We get to all of those questions with Dr. Anthony Fauci, who I spoke to before we came on the air tonight. Dr. Fauci, thanks for joining us I know everyone at home wants to know when will America reopen, how will America reopen? We've heard from the president that in some places it will reopen perhaps after these 30 days. In some states, even sooner. Do you agree with that? Is America ready to reopen? I think we need to be careful to make sure we don't talk about America in totality. Because there are so many different levels of outbreak and of involvement with this virus throughout the country that there will be some areas of the country which will really be much, much more attuned to and ready to be able to get more towards normality than others. I kind of refer to it a rolling reentry. There will not be, like, a light switch that you turn on and say, on this date, America will resume its normal activities. You say it will be a different time frame for different regions. But what needs to happen in order to reopen? What you must be able to do is have in place the capability of rapidly identifying by testing, getting someone who is infected out of the circulation. Obviously taken care of, if they need medical help. Do contact tracing, do it in an efficient way, where it means something. Not contact tracing, many, many, many days after an individual actually is exposed. You've talked about testing and tracing as a necessary component. With all due respect, the American public watched weeks ago when testing was really important in this. And the very slow ramp-up. How do you convince them we're going to be ready to test all over again to try to reopen the country? May 1st is just a couple of weeks away. What I'm hearing and seeing from the parties that are responsible for the upticking of the tests, making them available, is that we are doing extraordinarily better now than we were at the time when there were some significant challenges. Are you telling us there will be tens of millions of tests ready to American families can feel confident about leaving their homes and re-entering society? I can't guarantee that, and tell you that for sure. What I'm hearing from the people responsible for making sure these get out there is that we will have, it's not only just the federal government doing it. It's the private enterprise, the companies making and implementing these tests. Will there be a second wave of infection in this country? We don't know that. We have to be humble to realize, we do not know everything about this virus and what it's capable of doing. It's entirely conceivable that we will see a rebound as we get into a seasonal situation such as next fall or winter. In the meantime, I know you're aware of the reports out of South Korea, and even some reports from the U.S., of people coming down with this twice. Do we have any idea whether or not these are new infections or a reactivation of coronavirus in the system? Are you concerned about that? David, I can tell you, we do not know definitively whether these are reactivations or reinfections. Also, not only that, is this, are these really rare outlier events, or something telling us something about the degree of protection? It's a challenge to find that out. The thing related to that, that people are asking, is that when you are infected, and you have an antibody, the protein that fights the virus, and you have a level of antibody in you, are you protected for a month, three months, six months, a year? Those are things we have to find out. But we don't have the answers to that right now. We know there's a handful of human trials right now under way for vaccines. You had said 18 months is there any way to speed this up? The answer is, yes. But not substantially, unless you have certain conditions. In order to be able to get a vaccine that you feel comfortable will be safe and I say not only safe 15 minutes after injection, that you don't get an allergic reaction, but safe in that it does not, if a person gets infected, actually make it worse. We may learn a bit earlier, a few months earlier, but I think any less than a year, I think anything less than that would be carving off a couple of months but not a lot more. That essentially takes us into next winter. People are concerned about parents, grandparents. Will we have to be awfully careful with them, and perhaps keep a distance through next January or February? If we get a rebound of virus in the community, which as I said is possible. It may not happen, but it's if we do, and we don't have an effective and safe vaccine available, we will have to resort to the public health measures that have fared us rather well in many respects in the challenge we're going through right now. A very long road ahead. I also asked Dr. Fauci about antibody tests. He said generally speaking, you do have some immunity, but whether that's the same for this, that's unclear. We move on to the race for a

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

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