The analogy was as amusing to hockey fans awaiting an NHL return as it was accurate. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the leading national advisor to the Trump administration and the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, electronically testified before a Senate committee Tuesday morning and used a little hockey slang to make his point.
Hockey fans, and all sports fans, might be back in the building by the end of the year.
The National Institute of Health is following up to eight vaccine trials. The optimistic headline from Dr. Fauci’s testimony is we could know by late autumn is any of the vaccine trials are successful. The sobering headline would clearly be Dr. Fauci is not a fan of aggressive re-opening strategies.
Dr. Fauci is a sports fan who has wistfully talked of being able to attend a Washington Nationals game. On Tuesday, he switched to hockey and said having so many vaccines in development increases the chances for a successful cure.
“It’s multiple shots on goal situation,” Fauci said.
For all of our sake and the best chance to get fans included in the NHL return, let’s hope the NIH takes more shots than Alex Ovechkin.
Vaccines have been in development since January, and a partnership between UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh is believed to be one of the potential vaccines.
Reid Wilson, the author of Epidemic: Ebola & the Global Scramble to Prevent the Next Killer Outbreak and a reporter for The Hill, provided additional quotes from the testimony.
“There’s no guarantee that the vaccine is actually going to be effective,” Fauci testified. “… I’m cautiously optimistic that we will with one of the candidates get an efficacy signal.”
Fauci is flashed a yellow light, if not a red light, to some re-opening strategies on Monday evening to the New York Times reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg. He told the reporter he wished to caution the Senate against opening the country’s doors too quickly.
“If we skip over the checkpoints in the guidelines to ‘Open America Again,’ (initiative), then we risk the danger of multiple outbreaks throughout the country,” Fauci told the NYT. “This will not only result in needless suffering and death but would actually set us back on our quest to return to normal.”
However, a growing split has emerged among experts, which transcends political lines. Dr. David Katz, the founder of the Yale-Griffin Research Center, has publicly taken a middle stance between protracted quarantines and aggressive re-opening.
“There’s a middle path. Essentially, high-risk people are protected from exposure. Low-risk people go out in the world early,” Katz told HBO host Bill Maher on April 24. “And here’s the thing that people have a hard time getting and accepting; we actually want people to get this and be immune because that is the path to the all-clear.”
Katz, unfortunately, didn’t use any hockey analogies during his chat with Maher.
Here is Dr. Fauci before the Senate committee, Tuesday: