MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) – The nation’s greatest infectious expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, congratulated the Vermonters for their success in slowing the spread of coronavirus.
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases and also a member of President Trump’s Coronavirus Task Force in the White House, joined Vermont officials via Zoom to talk about Vermont’s response. He said Vermont should be the model for the rest of the country and congratulated the governor and the administration, saying he would like to tap into what is happening here and take it with him.
Fauci also warned against complacency, even in rural areas like the Northeastern Empire, with very low virus growth. “Please, you̵
He said pushback from a nationwide mask mandate in some parts of the country would make it counterproductive to introduce as well as difficult to enforce.
He says he expects a safe vaccine in November or December and that it should be available early next year. He gave an update on the process. He said there are multiple layers of checkpoints for safety and efficiency. He said he trusts that the FDA will do what science asks them to do and that when a vaccine is approved, he will not hesitate to get it or get his whole family to get it.
He largely avoided a question of whether lives would have been saved if the president had not deliberately downplayed the seriousness of the virus in footage just released by reporter Bob Woodward. He said it is important to look forward and not back.
Returning to school
Vermont Education Secretary Dan French said schools where positive cases were found this week – Hartford and Duxbury – handled it well and he expects to return to “normal” operations soon.
Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said his team was ready and working quickly to find someone who might need quarantine. He says there are fewer than six cases at Crossett Brook and Hartford High School.
Levine said they still have not found a link to a small bump in COVID cases in Orleans County last week, and that no more cases have come there.
Area colleges continue to report success in their testing protocols, and Levine says officials are optimistic about how the screenings go.
On Monday, health officials in Vermont reported a total of 1,696 coronavirus cases in the state and 58 deaths. A total of 151,478 tests have been performed, 522 travelers are monitored, 8,287 have completed surveillance and 1,509 have recovered.
Fauci speaks at Vermont COVID-19 briefing Tuesday
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