Dr. Fauci Just Said the Words About Coronavirus You've Been Dreading
The nation's top medical official is concerned that COVID-19 isn't even the worst of it.
While the number of new COVID-19 cases may be slightly slowing nationally, one thing is for sure: We are not through with the novel coronavirus quite yet. And while we've learned a lot about COVID-19 over the past six months, officials and medical experts continue to urge the American public that the danger is still are out there, along with plenty of unknowns. This includes Anthony Fauci, MD, who says he's already worried about something you probably have been dreading: when the next global pandemic could strike. "We know there have been outbreaks recently, we're in an outbreak now, and there's no doubt there is going to be outbreaks in the future," Fauci said on Politico's Pulse Check podcast on August 5.
On the podcast, Fauci brought up the continued threat that the coronavirus pandemic poses, but he also urged people to remember that this will not be the last time we encounter such a health crisis. "I think you have to assume that there are more viruses that are still lurking because we know historically we've had outbreaks long before I've been around, even before recorded history," he said.
Fauci later added that while he's worried about the trajectory of COVID-19, he's thinking about the next pandemic, too. "I tend not to be pessimistic, but I tend to be realistic about the foibles of our society and of our human nature," he said. "So I think we're going to have outbreaks after this outbreak."
Fauci's outlook on the future is not a change in tone. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) director touched on how he had been predicting looming viral outbreaks and pandemics for years. In 2016, Fauci did an interview with BuzzFeed News and was asked: "What actually keeps you up at night? What should we actually be worried about?" In response, he said, "A respiratory disease like influenza, that's easily spread and highly lethal." He also warned in 2017 that we would "no doubt" face an infectious disease outbreak during President Donald Trump's tenure.
That said, the seriousness of the current pandemic is hardly lost on Fauci, who sees struggles against major outbreaks such as HIV/AIDS as longstanding, slower-moving disasters that must still be addressed. To him, COVID-19 is different because of the speed at which we've been affected by it. "We've had outbreaks of different diseases over decades and decades," he told Pulse Check. "When you're talking about a respiratory infection that involves the entire planet, this is the most challenging and difficult public health crisis that we have faced since the global pandemic of 1918. [But] what we have here is an explosive challenge that essentially thrust itself upon us in a matter of months and has in many respects gripped the world like nothing else we've experienced in the past 102 years." However, that doesn't mean we won't see something like it in the future. And for more on what's to come with this pandemic, Dr. Fauci Says This Is the Sign That a COVID-19 Surge Is Coming.