Anthony Fauci, MD, told a group of biotechnology executives on Tuesday that he’s surprised by how fast the coronavirus has spread across the globe.
“In a period of 4 months, it has devastated the whole world,” he said during a conference held by the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, according to The New York Times. “And it isn’t over yet.”
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said a disease like the coronavirus was his “worst nightmare” because it is new, highly contagious, and causes lots of illness and death. Fauci also is a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
“Oh my goodness,” he said. “Where is it going to end? We’re still at the beginning of really understanding.”
He noted the coronavirus spread across the globe in about a month, whereas other diseases might spread like that in about 6 months. The contagiousness of the virus and international travel by infected people likely caused the rapid increase in cases, he said.
Fauci said the coronavirus has been a “double whammy” for African Americans, who have a high rate of positive cases.
African Americans often have other health conditions, such as diabetes, that make them vulnerable to the virus, he said, and they’re more likely to be exposed to the virus because they often hold jobs that cannot be done remotely.
Fauci said a vaccine will be necessary to stop the coronavirus and he expects more than one will be needed to supply the billions of doses needed around the world.
“You’re not going to have 100 vaccines,” he said, Bloomberg reported. “There’s going to be more than one, I’ll guarantee.”
When asked about vaccine pricing, Fauci said the government shouldn’t try to force drug companies to lower costs. The companies have to make a profit or they won’t take part, he said.
“I have a lot of experience over the years dealing with pharmaceutical companies in which we’re trying to develop an intervention,” he said. “And the one thing that is clear is that if you try to enforce things on a company that has multiple, different opportunities to do different things, they will walk away.”
Practice social distancing by putting space between yourself and others. Continue to practice healthy habits, like washing your hands for at least 20 seconds, wear face mask in public and staying home if you’re sick, to help slow the spread of #COVID19.