Dr. Anthony Fauci told “PBS NewsHour” on Monday that he thought the new coronavirus strain circulating in England might already be in the US.
He also said he would advise against instituting a UK travel ban over the strain, as many other countries already had.
Fauci told CNN “we don’t want to overreact” but should “without a doubt keep an eye on it.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci has said he thinks the new, potentially more infectious coronavirus strain circulating in the UK may already be in the US.
In an interview with “PBS NewsHour” on Monday, Fauci, the director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he would assume the new strain identified in the UK was already in the US, given international travel.
“I would not be surprised if it’s already here,” Fauci said. “When we start to look for it, we’re going to find it.”
Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, echoed the sentiment in an interview with CNBC, saying that the new strain “is already in the US” and that the virus would continue to mutate until widespread vaccination put an end to the pandemic.
Fauci also said he thought a ban on travelers from the UK would be “premature,” even as multiple countries had already taken that step.
He told CNN on Monday that the US should “without a doubt keep an eye on” the new strain but that “we don’t want to overreact.”
He said he would advise against suspending UK flights if the matter came up at a meeting of the White House coronavirus task force.
“I don’t think that that kind of a draconian approach is necessary,” Fauci told PBS. “I think we should seriously consider the possibility of requiring testing of people before they come from the UK here. But I don’t think that there is enough evidence right now to essentially lock down any travel from the UK.”
London and parts of Southeast England were put under new restrictions over the weekend after UK officials grew increasingly concerned about the new strain, which they have preliminarily estimated could be up to 70% more transmissible.
At the same time, officials say there’s nothing to suggest the mutated version of the virus causes a more severe disease or is more deadly.
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