HARTFORD, Conn — Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, joined Governor Ned Lamont for his state COVID-19 briefing Monday afternoon. Dr. Fauci addressed several topics including vaccines, in-person schooling and fall sports.
Dr. Fauci stressed during the briefing that “Connecticut is in a good place.”
He also addressed why he appeared in Monday’s COVID-19 briefing with Gov. Lamont. Fauci said that he’s worked with governors for months now and had interactions with Gov. Lamont during the calls with the White House during which good information was exchanged.
“So when the governor asked if I’d to this, I thought it was a good idea and I did it,” said Dr. Fauci.
Throughout the briefing Dr. Fauci stressed five prevention steps:
- Wearing masks
- Practicing social distancing of six feet
- Indoors are worse than outdoors
- Stay away from bars
- Wash your hands and practice good hand hygiene
During the briefing, Dr. Fauci provided an update on where trials for the COVID-19 vaccine stand and when we could possibly see a final product, explaining that given the number of sites and trials, a Sanofi trial will be down the road, as there are five or six trials in the county. Sanofi owns Protein Sciences here in Connecticut.
Dr. Fauci said two trials have started advanced testing, one starts in a month and then there another one after that and then a month after that. Dr. Fauci explained that, as an example of the process, a trial began on July 27 and will take about three months to enroll people and then there needs to be time to determine if it’s safe. If a vaccine passes its tests, we could see it as we head into the first and send quarter of 2021.
When speaking about students and teachers returning to the classroom, Dr. Fauci emphasized the default position, which he said is we should try to get kids back to school and also noted that “it’s always for the safety of the children and teachers.” If the state can maintain low numbers, Connecticut should be able to open up, with care, for in person learning. If conditions change, Dr. Fauci advised that state leaders need to be flexible to consider the safety of the students and teachers.
Dr. Fauci was asked if returning to fall sports was safe. He responded by saying it depends on the sport and if there is contact or no contact and spectators or no spectators.
Dr. Fauci said Connecticut is in a good place and should still continue use preventative measures, such as mask wearing and social distancing and if a “sport can be played within that context, that’s fine, if not probably can’t do it.”
While at UConn Monday morning, Gov. Lamont discussed school reopening plans as the first day of school rapidly approaches.
Gov. Lamont stated that he was following the science as he's gone along with the state's reopening plans. He said that Dr. Fauci was the "predominant voice" coming out of Washington D.C.
While continuing to discuss school reopenings, Gov. Lamont said that it seemed to be easier to get a third-grader back in school safely, versus a college student coming from a different state or even a different country.
Gov. Lamont went on to say he had been talking with President of Uconn, Thomas C. Katsouleas, over the last few months when it came to safely reopening the university
At a time when early progress seems to have been lost and uncertainty clouds the nation’s path forward, Fauci is calling on lawmakers — and all other Americans — to go back to public health basics such as social distancing and wearing masks.
Connecticut has had a mask mandate in place since April 20th.
In an interview with The Associated Press earlier this week, Fauci said he was “disturbed” by the flat-out opposition in parts of the country to wearing masks as a public health protective measure.
Fauci said in his AP interview that he's concerned because the U.S. has not followed the track of Asian and European nations also hit hard by the coronavirus.
Other countries that shut down their economies knocked back uncontrolled spread and settled into a pattern of relatively few new cases, although they continued to experience local outbreaks.