Anthony Fauci, the federal government’s top infectious disease official, says a vaccine trial will start this summer with 30,000 people participating. He also told Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg that researchers have found no ‘deleterious’ effects on a person’s breathing amid a nationwide battle over whether people should cover their faces to prevent spread through tiny droplets of saliva and mucus.
Mr Fauci, who has feuded with the White House this week, implored young people to stay home and not crowd into places young people typically go.
“It’s really disappointing that we still don’t have adequate testing, that the credibility of our top scientists,” the Facebook boss said.
Download the new Independent Premium app
Sharing the full story, not just the headlines
He said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is being “undermined” by Trump administration officials.
Zuckerberg, who has met with Donald Trump in recent months, charged administration officials with “calling into question” some “best practices, like wearing masks.”
With face-covering liberals and bare-faced conservatives across the country doing battle rhetorically and on social media – and sometimes confronting each other in public – Mr Fauci made another plug for covering up one’s mouth and nose, which can both eject tiny Covid-19 bacteria that causes coronavirus.
“There is nothing to indicate that wearing a mask has deleterious effects,” he told Mr Zuckerberg.
The virus can be spread by people who have the Covid bacteria but show symptoms and feel fine.
To that end, an asymptomatic person can carry just as much Covid in his or her nose as some who is very ill, Mr Fauci noted.
There are at least over 3.5m people who have been infected with the respiratory disease since the outbreak began earlier this year – and over 135,000 dead.
But Mr Trump continues saying his administration has mostly beaten the disease, even as cases surge in over 20 states that are freezing or rolling back their re-opening guidelines.
The president also seems opposed to speeding testing, saying earlier this week that increased testing “creates cases.” He seems unaffected that more and more Americans are getting sick and dying.
His top spokeswoman, Kayleigh McEnany, on Thursday gave no indication that the administration is working to speed the time it takes for people to get test results. Without knowing they are sick, asymptomatic people likely would go on with their lives, spreading Covid-19 bacteria everywhere they go.