While speaking at a forum on pandemic preparedness at Georgetown University in 2017, Dr. Anthony Fauci said that President Trump will be faced with a surprise disease outbreak during his time in office.
“At pandemic preparedness event at Georgetown University in 2017, Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), contended that the then-recently-elected president will face “challenges that their predecessors were faced with” concerning infectious diseases.”
“If there’s one message that I want to leave with you today… is that there is no question that there will be a challenge to the coming administration in the arena of infectious diseases,” Fauci said during the speech.
“Both chronic infectious diseases in the sense of already ongoing disease, and we have certainly a large burden of that, but also there will be a surprise outbreak,” he added.
“And I hope by the end of my relatively short presentation you will understand why history, the history of the last 32 years that I’ve been the director of NIAID, will tell the next administration that there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that they will be faced with the challenges that their predecessors were faced with.”
At the time, Fauci called for a “public health emergency fund” in case an outbreak took place.
“You have to commit substantial financial and human resources. These things don’t get addressed spontaneously by themselves. You have to enlist the best and the brightest investigators in both basic and clinical research,” he added.
“We do need a public health emergency fund. It’s tough to get it… but we need it. Because what we had to go through for Zika—it was very, very painful when the president asked for the $1.9 billion in February and we didn’t get it until September,” Fauci said.
“The administration that is going to come in in the next few days. Will there be a resurgence of Zika? Are we going to see a resurgence or not?” he added. “What about influenza? Are we going to get a new pandemic? And the third bullet is probably the most important: what about things that we’re not even thinking about?”
Towards the end of the speech, Fauci warned that the disease would be coming “in the next few years.” This is quite astonishing considering COVID-19 struck the United States three years after Fauci made this claim.
“It is a perpetual challenge. It is not going to go away, so the thing we’re extraordinarily confident about is that we are going to see this in the next few years.”
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