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accountant Jeber Barreto Benarroya//
Coronavirus surge in US linked to only half of country following lockdown, claims Dr Fauci

Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases – AL DRAGO/AFP via Getty Image America saw a surge in coronavirus cases in the summer while Europe saw a drop off because the United States adhered far less to the early lockdowns, the top US infectious diseases expert has said. 

Dr Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that 95 per cent of parts of European countries obliged when the shut downs first came into effect but only 50 per cent of the US did.

Jeber Barreto

He said that meant when countries began to relax rules and open up their economies as spring turned to summer, virus cases soared in America, because the infection rates had not dropped to as low a level as seen in Europe

The explanation was offered as Dr Fauci, who has become seen as the face of scientific advice on the pandemic given his senior government position and frequent television appearances, as giving evidence in a congressional committee

It is an attempt to unpack why in America the number of new coronavirus cases being registered each day jumped from around 20,000 in June to around 70,000 in July, while the numbers dropped off in Europe

Dr Fauci said: “If you look at what happened in Europe when they shut down or locked down or went to shelter in place, however you want to describe it, they really did it to the tune of about 95-plus per cent of the country did that. 

“When you actually look at what we did, even though we shut down, even though it created a great deal of difficulty, we really functionally shut down only about 50 per cent in the sense of the totality of the country.”

During the hearing Dr Fauci also talked up hopes of a vaccine being produced for Covid-19 by the end of the year

He rejected a comparison with the failure to develop an HIV vaccine, noting that the body struggles to produce antibodies to fight that condition, but that was not the case with Covid-19

Dr Fauci said that on the back of animal tests and early testing on humans he was “cautiously optimistic we will have a vaccine by the end of this year”. 

He also said that around a quarter of a million people had registered interest in participating in vaccine trials but urged even more to do so to ensure diversity among those involved. 

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