Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee that he is worried about "a disturbing surge of infections" of COVID-19. He said that health officials need to "address those surges that we're seeing in Florida, in Texas, in Arizona, and in other states."
A total of 23 states have seen a steady increase in new coronavirus cases as they have gradually implemented reopening plans over the past few weeks.
Dr. Fauci said that the most effective way to combat the virus is by increasing testing capabilities across the country. He said that the United States will continue to ramp up the number of coronavirus tests as officials try to keep the pandemic under control.
"To my knowledge, none of us have ever been told to slow down on testing. That just is a fact. In fact, we will be doing more testing," Fauci said.
He said that testing and contact tracing is the best way to identify places where new cases are spiking.
"The way you address that — and I've said this over and over again — is you have to have the manpower, the system, the testing to identify, isolate and contact trace in an effective way so that when you see those increases, you can understand where they're coming from. And you can do something about them," he said.
Dr. Fauci said he is "cautiously optimistic" that scientists will have a vaccine ready by the end of the year. He said that one of the trials is preparing to start the third phase of clinical testing in July and that other potential vaccines are entering the first phase of testing.
He said that once a vaccine is distributed, life can begin to get back to normal.
"It is generally vaccines that put the nail in the coffin," Fauci said.
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