Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the world's leading infectious disease experts, on Friday affirmed a frightening truth some people refuse to accept -- COVID-19 will never go away -- while assailing president Donald Trump for his repeated lies and misleading statements about the disease.
The Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) said COVID-19 can't be eradicated because the coronavirus that causes it is far too contagious. SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) is the virus that causes COVID-19.
"I do not believe it would disappear because it's such a highly transmissible virus," according to Dr. Fauci in testimony before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis about the absence of national coronavirus strategy.
In making this categorical assertion, Dr. Fauci again rebutted false statements made by Trump who keeps claiming without proof COVID-19 will eventually vanish.
Dr. Fauci again discredited another of Trump's favorite false claims: that the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine can cure COVID-19. He said hydroxychloroquine has no effectiveness whatsoever in treating the disease. Dr. Fauci said he's not seen a single scientifically valid study proving the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine.
Trump has also kept falsely claiming the increase in cases is only because the U.S. is doing more testing. Dr. Fauci disputed Trump's claim and said the increase in cases is real.
"If you do more testing, you will see more cases," he said. "But the increases that we are seeing are real increases in cases, as also reflected by increases in hospitalization and increases in deaths."
Asked if the country's inability to control SARS-CoV-2 is caused by a lack of testing, Dr. Fauci replied "testing is a part of the process of controlling infection," especially as it relates to contact tracing. But to effectively conduct contact tracing, he said, "you need testing back within a reasonable period of time.
In his testimony, Dr. Fauci also said he doesn't see China as a "threat" to the development of a vaccine despite recent federal charges against two Chinese hackers. These hackers are accused of stealing trade secrets and looking for weak spots in the servers of companies involved in coronavirus research.
The clash between Trump and Dr. Fauci on this issue extends back to February 27 when Trump falsely claimed the COVID-19 outbreak is only temporary.
"It's going to disappear," said Trump. "One day it's like a miracle -- it will disappear."
Days later Dr. Fauci said he was concerned that "as the next week or two or three go by, we're going to see a lot more community-related cases."
Testifying alongside Dr. Fauci was Dr. Robert Redfield, Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Adm. Dr. Brett Giroir, Assistant Secretary for Health.