Dr. Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, confirmed that the country only has 13,000 ventilators, medical equipment that's essential for patients struggling to breathe.
"That may not be enough if we have a situation where we really have a lot of cases," he said. "People need to understand that things will get worse before they get better. What we're trying to do is make sure we don't get to the worst-case scenario."
“That may not be enough if we have a situation where we really have a lot of cases,” Dr. Anthony Fauci tells @jonkarl when asked if the U.S. healthcare system is prepared in terms of the number of ventilators available for coronavirus patients. https://t.co/2siLTcOUzz pic.twitter.com/buv5NiV1sR— ABC News (@ABC) March 15, 2020
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Yet he assured Karl the country is doing everything that needs to be done in order to slow the spread of the virus, which has infected almost 3,000 and killed more than 50 in the U.S. so far.
"What I like to see is when people look at what we're doing and say, 'You're overreacting,'" he said. "For me, the dynamics and the history of outbreaks is you're never where you think you are. If you think you're in line with the outbreak, you're already three weeks behind. So you got to be almost overreacting a bit to keep up with it."
NEW: @jonkarl: “Are you confident that the federal government is doing everything that needs to be done right now to contain this?”— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) March 15, 2020
“Right now, Jon, yes. Absolutely,” Dr. Anthony Fauci says on federal response to coronavirus threat. https://t.co/YJ2h02tqtA pic.twitter.com/uaByintRuB
He also said people need to take personal responsibility in not conducting "business as usual" amid the coronavirus threat and "chill down" social interactions.
"We gotta make sure that the vulnerable ones are the ones we protect - the elderly and those with underlying conditions," he said.
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In response to Karl's question about what Fauci was personally doing to protect himself, he said, "I'm practicing as much social distancing as I possibly can."
He added that he was also trying to get the president to adopt similar measures that could help to slow the spread of the virus.
"I'm working on getting the boss to do this," Fauci said of social distancing. "I may not be successful, but we're working on it."