Fauci is the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
Vermont Governor Phil Scott said data presented Friday showed that the state “continued to have the lowest positivity rate in the country at about two-tenths of 1%,” adding, “we also have the lowest number of cases per capita, and our growth rates remained around 1% for months.”
Scott also mentioned how an estimated 70% of schools are doing remote learning for three to four days a week, and three cases of infections among students were announced yesterday.
The state has reported just 1,702 total cases, according to data from Vermont Department of Public Health.
Fauci said the state’s successful experience could serve as a model for the rest of the country in reaching a low test positivity to reopen the economy in a "safe and prudent way."
At the same time, he warned citizens not to let their guards down and become complacent--otherwise, surges could arise.
“This virus is a formidable foe. You give it an opportunity to re-emerge its ugly head, whether you are in the beautiful rural area of Vermont or the middle of Manhattan or the Bronx, that virus is going to take advantage of that,” Fauci said. “So please, you’ve done so well, don’t let your guard down."
Reporters raised questions about Vermont’s low population density and any correlation to the remarkably low infection rate.
“It isn’t a question of density or not, it’s a question of what you did or did not do correctly and from the numbers that I've seen, Vermont has done it correctly,” Fauci said.
He said the message of caution carries higher importance as the state enters the colder seasons of the fall and winter due to higher indoor activity and increased potential for spread. However, he believes that if the rest of the country adopts commonalities taken in Vermont, “we can come out on the other end better off than we went in.”
Scott enforced a statewide mask mandate on Aug. 1, and, when prompted by reporters, Fauci said he doesn’t expect a national mask mandate to work due to expected, considerable pushback from citizenry.
Finally, Fauci does not expect a second wave of COVID-19 in Vermont this winter.
“I don’t think you inevitably are going to have a second wave... It’s going to be challenging as you get into the fall and the winter but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to have a problem if you do the kind of prudent public health measures that you’ve been doing.”
Fauci listed five fundamental principles amid active infection in a community: Universal wearing of masks, maintaining six feet of physical distance, avoiding crowds, opting for outdoor activity when possible and frequent hand washing.