Even though testing for COVID-19 is steadily ramping up as many areas of the country ease stay-at-home restrictions, Robert Redfield, Director of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, testified that “it’s important to emphasize that we are not out of the woods yet. We need to stay vigilant with social distancing. It remains an imperative.”
Redfield testified on May 12 before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
During the same hearing, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, said “the virus is not going to just disappear, because it is such a highly transmissible virus.” But despite fears that COVID-19 will become more virulent in the fall, as the 1918 flu pandemic did, the second wave will be “much, much less” serious than the current extent of the outbreak, he added.
Fauci bases this prediction on the assumption that there will be increased coronavirus testing, followed by contact tracing to isolate individuals who are infectious, as well as an adequate stock of personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers and first responders. He said the actions that federal and state governments are currently putting in place will enable them to “deal with it very effectively.”
That outcome is not guaranteed, however. Responding to a question from Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren as to what would happen “if we don’t do better on testing, on contact tracing and social distancing,” Fauci said, “We will have the deleterious consequence of more infections and more deaths.”