Dr. Anthony Fauci on the "absolute thing" America needs before reopening the economy

Dr. Anthony Fauci on the key steps to reopening the country

There is a battle brewing across the country over how and when Americans can get back to work. As governors across the country wrestle with how best to ease restrictions, President Trump is pushing to move quickly. But experts warn that even a gradual reopening of the economy risks a wave of new coronavirus infections.

In an interview with "CBS Evening News​" anchor and managing editor Norah O'Donnell, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, weighed in on the timeline for reopening the country and discussed how Americans may have to adapt to prevent a second wave of the disease.

Read O'Donnell's interview with Fauci below:

Norah O'Donnell: You've said we are not yet there in terms of the key steps that we have to have in place to reopen the economy. If you had a magic wand, what would we need?

Dr. Anthony Fauci: Well I think it is going to be different for different parts of the country [...] The success or failure of that rolling re-entry program, as I call it, would be the capability of being able to test, identify, isolate, get someone who is infected out of circulation and do a degree of contact tracing.

The absolute thing that you would need is to be able to respond and contain whatever rebound you get so that you don't wind up in a situation where you have another escalation.

Do you envision then, in the future in terms of reopening the economy, that there'll be temperature checks at businesses, that there'll be fewer tables at restaurants? What will that new normal look like?

I mean, I absolutely would not be surprised if we did see in certain places that someone would take one of those very quick temperature checks, put in front of your forehead and wind up determining if you're febrile or not, and keeping you out of whatever location you want to go into.

Also more physical separation. I think that's feasible.

So let me ask you about that vaccine, since you're coordinating that at the National Institutes of Health. How are these human trials going? Are we ahead of schedule? What's the data that you see?

Well, again, it's too, it's premature to talk about data except to say that there have been no glitches. I said, a couple of months ago — I think about a month and a half ago — that it would be about a year to a year and a half. It is possible to shave a couple of months off that. But, you know, you don't want to over-promise. We'll just have to see how it goes.

What are you hopeful about?

Well, you know, my hope is that we get through this acute challenge that we're in now. That we will be prepared if we do get a resurgence in the next season. That we'll be able to keep it under very good contained control, without going through the very difficult situation that we've been facing over the last several weeks. And that by the time we get to the point where we have a vaccine, we could put coronavirus behind us, and make sure that we're well prepared for the next emerging infection challenge.


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