MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) – The country’s best infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, congratulated Vermonters on their success in slowing the spread of the coronavirus.
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of President Trump’s White House coronavirus task force, joined Vermont staff through Zoom to talk about Vermont’s response. He said Vermont should be a model for the rest of the country and congratulated the governor and the administration, saying he would like to bottle what is happening here and take it with him.
Fauci also warned against complacency, even in rural areas such as the Northeast, with very low virus growth. “Please, you did well, don̵
He said rejecting the national mask mandate in some parts of the country would make its introduction counterproductive and difficult to implement.
He says he expects a safe vaccine in November or December and that it should be available early next year. He provided up-to-date information on the process. He said there are multiple layers of safety and efficiency checkpoints. He said he believed the FDA would do what science told them to do, and that once the vaccine was approved, he would not hesitate to get it or get his whole family to get it.
He largely avoids the question of whether life would have been saved if the president had deliberately downplayed the seriousness of the virus in recordings just released by reporter Bob Woodward. He said it was important to look ahead, not back.
RETURN TO SCHOOL
Vermont Secretary of Education Dan French said schools where positive cases were found this week – Hartford and Duxbury – are doing well and expect to return to “normal” operations soon.
Health Commissioner Dr Mark Levine said his team was ready and working quickly to find anyone who might need to be quarantined. He says there are less than six cases at Crossett Brook and Hartford High School.
Levine said they had not yet found a link to a small lump in COVID cases in Orleans County last week and that no more cases had been found there.
District colleges continue to report success in their test protocols, and Levine says staff are optimistic about how the screenings are going.
As of Monday, Vermont health officials reported a total of 1,696 coronavirus cases in the state and 58 deaths. A total of 151,478 tests were performed, 522 passengers were observed, 8,287 completed the monitoring and 1,509 recovered.
Fauci will speak at a briefing on COVID-19 in Vermont on Tuesday
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