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Dr. Fauci offers WA praise but warns against complacency

Dr. Anthony Fauci. (Getty Images)

Serving on the White House’s coronavirus task force, Dr. Anthony Fauci is widely regarded as the nation’s leading expert on infectious diseases. He joined KTTH’s Jason Rantz Show for an interview on what the future of the coronavirus outbreak looks like in the U.S., insight into Washington state’s own response, and more.

“We should not accept the inevitability that we’re going have 100,000 to 200,000 deaths,” said Dr. Fauci. “I’m seeing around the country how people doing a very good job of (responding to the outbreak) — they did a very good job in Washington state.”

Kirkland’s Life Care Center was the epicenter of the nation’s outbreak in its early days. That being so, the region has managed to make progress in flattening its curve, with the latest numbers from the University of Washington’s predictive model painting a promising picture for the months ahead if people maintain social distancing.

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“We are seeing some glimmers of hope,” said Fauci. “That viral engine that drives this is starting to show some stabilization in certain areas.”

In Washington, that progress has been largely driven by a robust early response, and public health systems that Fauci praises as “some of the best in the country.”

“The Seattle area and the state of Washington … never let it get to the point where containment wasn’t working,” he noted. “They were able to do that early containment really quite well.”

That being so, he also echoed what many other health experts have said in the wake of Washington’s recent headway: That it’s not the time to let up.

“We cannot be lulled into complacency,” Fauci cautioned. “You don’t want to, when you see the pattern of the virus turn the corner and start coming down, throw up your hands and declare victory and say ‘let’s just immediately go back to normal.'”

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Rather, he advocated for gradually relaxing social distancing measures once it appears as though the outbreak has been fully contained.

In the days ahead, though, Dr. Fauci also points out that the timeline of the virus isn’t something that can be forced.

“It has to be driven by the data, because as I have said often, the virus determines the timetable of what you do, not your pre-determined time table that you put forth,” he detailed.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3 – 6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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