Facts First: Experts say the US does not have the virus even close to contained. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in his own comments after Trump left the room: “The worst is yet ahead for us. It is how we respond to that challenge that is going to determine what the ultimate end point is going to be. We have a very, very critical point now.”
After the Sunday briefing, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that, for the next eight weeks, people cancel or postpone events anywhere in the country consisting of 50 or more people.
“It is correct that the infections are going to go up. Our job is to make sure it doesn’t do the maximum peak and actually blunts. Within that blunt there will be many new infections. We want to make sure we don’t get to that really bad peak,” Fauci said.
The virus and young people
Trump made another statement at the Sunday briefing that did not match the message of public health experts and of others in Trump’s administration.
Trump said: “Young people, people of good health, and — groups of people — just are not strongly affected.” He continued, “Elderly people that are not well, not well in certain respects, are really a very dangerous group. We have to watch them.”
“Younger people should be concerned for two reasons. You are not immune or safe from getting seriously ill. Even though when you look at the total numbers, it’s overwhelmingly weighted towards the elderly and those with underlying conditions. But the virus isn’t a mathematical formula. There are going to be people who are young who are going to wind up getting seriously ill. So protect yourself,” Fauci said on CNN.
Fauci went on to explain that young people can carry the virus without getting seriously ill themselves, bringing it “to a person who would bring it to a person that would bring it to your grandfather, your grandmother, or your elderly relative.”
After Trump left the room on Sunday, Pence urged people who are not in “a high-risk category” to “remember those people around you who may well be. Remember those seniors with underlying health conditions.”