Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Coronavirus News (175)

Coronavirus herd immunity may be 'unachievable' after study suggests antibodies disappear after weeks in some people
Republicans warn of ‘grim’ outlook for Trump in Florida US president loses ground in must-win swing state that has emerged as new coronavirus hotspot  

Anthony Fauci: ‘We are living in the perfect storm’   The straight-talking scientist on keeping the peace with Trump and the hunt for a Covid-19 vaccine ........  a leading public health scientist in a world growing suspicious of expertise; an affable self-described humanist in a society where soundbites get more play than sound advice ..........  he is facing a challenge that eclipses even the epidemics he has previously battled — Aids and Sars. ........ Now, Fauci reports to his sixth president: Donald Trump. The president flouts his advice — refusing to wear a mask and holding rallies — and, Fauci tells me, hasn’t even met him for more than a month. .......  Overflowing hospitals in Houston are beginning to look like New York’s in April, while areas of states including Texas, California, Arizona and Florida are starting to shut back down. ........   He warned Congress late last month that the number of new cases could rise to 100,000 a day. “What worries me is the slope of the curve,” he explains, using his fingers to draw a chart in the air. “It still looks like it’s exponential.” ............  Fauci does not normally have lunch, lasting through his 17- or 18-hour workdays on breakfast alone, before returning home for dinner. ........ the citizenry didn’t listen to the guidelines and they decided they were going to stay in bars and go to congregations of crowds and celebrations.” ........  The US has always valued individual rights, he says, but warns that this could make it hard to tackle the pandemic, even when we have a vaccine. “Our forefathers . . . had the guts to come by boat from Europe and wherever else. That’s the general spirit: you don’t always trust authority,” he says. Now it has been taken to an “extreme”, with a movement against science and authority helping to form “the foundation for the anti-vaccine movement, that we don’t trust what the government is telling us. That is very, very problematic right now.” ...........  On July 4, the president declared that 99 per cent of Covid-19 cases were “harmless”. ............... “I have never seen a virus or any pathogen that has such a broad range of manifestations,” he says. “Even if it doesn’t kill you, even if it doesn’t put you in the hospital, it can make you seriously ill.” ...........  Coughing at an inopportune moment, he jests: “That’s not Covid, that’s my sandwich.” ........  Trump’s wild suggestion that injecting disinfectant could help to treat Covid-19 appears to have affected public health. A survey from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevent­ion found that about one in three have been using it unsafely to try to protect against Covid-19, including ingesting it or applying it on their skin. ............   Classics helped him understand “the human species”, he says. ..........   Fauci’s “day job” is leading the $6bn institute searching for a vaccine that could end the pandemic. I ask him for a realistic timeline for a vaccine. He says he believes that “barring any glitches, bumps in the road or potholes”, one could be ready by the end of the year. ............    Last week, Gilead priced its Covid-19 drug remdesivir at $2,340 for a course of treatment in a developed country. Wall Street analysts were surprised that Gilead priced it so low — and activists were shocked that it was priced so high. .........  I sip my iced tea and try to forget that I’m talking to a scientific luminary from my bedroom. ......   large swaths of the country do not want to hear the truth. Some regional and local public health officials have resigned after threats of violence from opponents who view themselves as freedom fighters, resisting rules about mask-wearing and social distancing. ..............   Covid-19 has the worst elements of previous epidemics combined. “You have a random virus jump species from an animal to a human that is spectacularly efficient in spreading from human to human, and has a high degree, relatively speaking, of morbidity and mortality,” he says. “We are living in the perfect storm right now.”

Actor Brad Pitt impersonates Fauci on ‘Saturday Night Live’ on April 25

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