“The new phase” of the coronavirus pandemic that White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx discussed on Sunday refers to areas that are experiencing community spread, and that’s harder to fight than contained outbreaks, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Monday.
Birx said Sunday the US is in a new phase in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic, adding that the virus is now more widespread than it was in March and April.
“When you have community spread, it's much more difficult to get your arms around that,” Fauci said during a briefing with Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont.
Fauci explained why it can be so difficult to contain community spread of the virus.
“For example, nursing home outbreaks, meatpacking plant outbreaks, prison outbreaks – it's unfortunate that they occur, but you know exactly what you're dealing with, and you could go in there, and try and suppress the infection and contain it,” he said. “Whereas when you have community spread, it's insidious. There are people who are spreading it who have no symptoms at all, and we know that definitely occurs. It's difficult to identify it, and it's difficult to do identification, isolation and contact tracing.”
Fauci said asymptomatic transmission is a driving factor in community spread.
“That's what [Dr. Birx] meant by a ‘different phase’ of where we're going right now, because it isn't easily identifiable who these spreaders are,” said Fauci. “That makes it much more difficult to contain.”