New Yorker Journalist: This Pandemic Isn’t Surprising

For most Americans, Dr. Anthony Fauci has become the face of the pandemic– a regular presence at White House briefings. Michael Specter knows Fauci well, having reported on his work for more than three decades, and he joins the program to discuss the doctor’s career and his leadership during this pandemic.

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CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: So, you know, I just wanted to start by asking you to comment on what Dr. Fauci has said today that — and he was doing it to a webinar in Washington, that he definitely believes that the virus will be here to stay. It will come back at some point and it depends on how we deal with it. What do you make of what he`s saying now, what he`s telegraphing?

MICHAEL SPECTER, STAFF WRITER, THE NEW YORKER: He`s saying what he always says, which is the truth. This is sort of obvious to anyone who knows anything about epidemiology. The virus is not going to disappear. It is going to be around. It is going to wax and wane and it will never really be solved until we have a vaccine. So, the thing we to do until then is fight it with the tools we have. And there are not very many. There are some. But we need to start using those tools.

AMANPOUR: And he also said that he believes — and I`m going to get to these tools in a sec. He believed that a vaccine — or this virus would respond to a vaccine. I mean, you heard some of the discussion, probably, with Tim Phillips and the idea of trying the speed up this vaccine, you know, hunt. What are the tools that you`ve just, you know, sort of raised that we need to be using? One of them must be testing, vaccine, the whole lot, right?

SPECTER: Yes. Testing is a principle thing. I want to start at the end, though. The idea that we are going to speed up the hunt for a vaccine, we are hunting as fast as we can every sophisticated medical center in the world is working only this. But we have for decades ignored the absolute inevitably of something like this. This is not a surprise. There`s nothing surprising about this pandemic. This virus is like SARS, it`s like MERS, it`s like Ebola. It comes from a bat. It even enters our respiratory system in ways that we understand. People like Fauci and many, many journalists, I am just one, but there are lots of others, have been writing about the inevitability of something like this for decades. But we have always been a sort of quarterly profit company — country and we think in terms of a few months. We think in terms of the next problem. And I don`t want to talk about silver linings in such a disaster, but I would like to think finally maybe we would look forward and spend some money to prevent an attack of biology that is preventable. We don`t have to wait. We can defend ourselves.

About This Episode EXPAND

The president of Americans for Prosperity joins Christiane Amanpour to answer the question on everyone’s mind: How can the American economy be opened up safely? Then, journalist Michael Specter discusses Anthony Fauci’s career and leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, Dr. Richard Levitan joins Hari Sreenivasan to explain why COVID-19 patients should be going to hospitals sooner.