“No, it’s not,” Fauci told ABC’s David Muir. “All you’ve got to do is look at the data, David. The virus is telling us what it can and will do if we don’t confront it properly.”
Fauci, who is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, added that public action can make a big difference in what happens next.
“We could get it to be under control if we do the things that we’re talking about,” he said, referring to social distancing, masks and other measures.
“I believe it’s achievable to get to a level that’s quite controlled so that we can open up the country and get the economy back,” he said.
Muir also noted that Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said last month that the coming flu season could converge with the coronavirus. Redfield warned it could lead to “probably one of the most difficult times that we’ve experienced in American public health.”
Fauci didn’t dispute that.
“I totally agree with Dr. Redfield,” he said. “That as we get into the winter and fall, with the likelihood that we’d have a convergence of two respiratory diseases, we could have a very difficult time.”
But, as with the coronavirus, Fauci said the public can turn it around.
“There are things that we can do that will get the level down,” he said.
Fauci also spoke about the coming school year, calling conditions around the nation a “mixed bag,” with some regions in a better position to return to in-class instruction than others.
And when kids do return to schools, he called for wearing masks, social distancing, constant hand-washing and regular use of hand sanitizer ― and called images of a crowded Georgia school hallway “disturbing.”
See his full conversation with Muir ― which also included the latest on vaccines ― below:
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.