Joining NBC's 'TODAY' show live, Dr. Anthony Fauci says that even though the number of deaths validate that this is a bad week in the coronavirus battle, there are "some glimmers of hope" such as stabilizing numbers of hospitalizations in New York.
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that social distancing and behavior changes are "starting to have a real effect" and that the virus death toll may look "more like 60,000 than the 100,000 to 200,000" initially predicted. He dismisses "conspiracy theories" that coronavirus death tolls are inflated and says he’s "cautiously optimistic" that the country may be able to begin reopening by summer.
Fauci said that he was "somewhat serious" when he said that Americans "may never shake hands again," but says that social behaviors will have to change to combat the virus when it returns because it’s not going to disappear."
"When we attempt to get back to normal, we have to have in place the ability, when it starts to try and rear its ugly head, we can absolutely suppress it by identification, isolation, contact tracing," Fauci said.
"When you're talking about getting back to normal, we know now that we can get hit by a catastrophic outbreak like this," he said. "It can happen again, so we really need to be prepared to respond in a much more vigorous way."