Vermont Governor Phil Scott welcomed a special guest for part of his regular COVID briefing on Tuesday. White House Coronavirus Task Force member Dr. Anthony Fauci joined by video link to praise the state’s low positivity rate and answer questions.
Vermont Governor Phil Scott began his briefing by noting that the state has some of the best data trends in the country. “Vermont continues to have the lowest positivity rate in the country at about two tenths of one percent. We also have the lowest number of cases per capita and our growth rates have remained about one percent per month. These low numbers are thanks to the hard work of Vermonters.”
Since the pandemic began one of the key figures to emerge is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease Dr. Anthony Fauci. Scott called himself a big fan because Dr. Fauci tells it like it is, in a way people can understand. Dr. Fauci then joined the briefing via video and said Vermont is setting an example for the nation. “When you have a test positivity of zero-point-two percent you are starting the game on your side. I believe strongly that if we adopt the commonalities that you’ve done that we cannot only get through the fall and the winter but we can come out on the other end better off than we went in.”
Fauci took a number of questions and was asked whether a national mask mandate should be imposed. “We’ve discussed this in great detail at the level of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. There is such a degree of variability of accepting mandates throughout the country that the question has arised of how would you enforce the mandate if you had an awful lot of push back for it? And in some areas anything that smacks of an authorative statement to the citizenry often is met with a considerable amount of pushback. So I think you’d have to take it on a case by case basis. Which means the bottom line is that a national mandate probably would not work.”
State Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine has reassured Vermonters that any vaccine for COVID-19 distributed in the state will be safe and effective. He asked Dr. Fauci to reinforce his assurances. "Can you help Vermonters understand why they should trust the eventual vaccine?”
Fauci: “We right now have six candidate vaccines. They have gone into trial quickly. The speed was because of very sophisticated technological advances. There are multiple layers of checkpoints regarding both safety and efficacy. Based on my experience and what I am seeing if there’s a vaccine, which I’m fairly certain there will be, that’s safe and effective I for one would not hesitate to take it.”
Dr. Fauci was asked if he thought lives would have been saved if Bob Woodward had gone public in March about interviews for his book “Rage” in which President Trump said he was downplaying the threat of the virus, or if President Trump had warned Americans earlier. Fauci called such allusions politically charged and unproductive. He said it’s best to look at what we now know and use that knowledge to address the pandemic.