Dr. Anthony Fauci said Monday that he plans to remain in his role as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases through the remainder of the Trump administration and into President-elect Joe Biden’s administration.
“I have no intention of leaving,” Fauci told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “This is an important job. I’ve been doing it now for a very long time. I’ve been doing it under six presidents.”
“It’s an important job, and my goal is to serve the American public, no matter what the administration is,” he added.
Fauci warned that the United States was in a “serious situation” with cases exceeding 100,000 a day, but said the country “can turn it around.”
“Unfortunately, we predicted it when we were talking about the fact that as we enter into the coolest season of the fall and the upcoming coldest season of the winter, that you’re going to start seeing more indoor activity, and we never got down to a good baseline,” said Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert.
He said “help is on the way with a vaccine,” following the announcement by Pfizer on Monday that early data shows its vaccine is 90% effective.
“The bottom line is as a vaccine, it’s more than 90% effective, which is extraordinary and will play a major role in what the outcome of this is going to be,” Fauci told Blitzer.
The Data and Safety Monitoring Board, an independent group that monitors vaccine trials, “has … told us that we now have a vaccine that is more than 90% effective,” said Fauci.
“Obviously, we need to go over the details of the data, but this is a highly reputable company that has extensive experience in the development of countermeasures, including vaccines,” Fauci said.
He said there were still questions about how long the vaccine would protect people for, and how effective it is in the elderly versus younger people, but that it was “good news” both in the immediate term and for other vaccines from companies such as Moderna, which work along similar lines.
He emphasized, though, that while Americans should feel good about the news, no one should let their guard down yet.
“We know there’s light at the end of the tunnel, but that doesn’t mean that we’re going to give up the important public health measures that we continually still have to do every single day,” said Fauci.
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