Fauci speaks to West Virginia health institute about coronavirus

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The West Virginia Clinical and Translational Science Institute on Thursday hosted the nation’s leading infectious disease expert for a virtual event on the coronavirus pandemic and related research.

Dr. Anthony Fauci with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases provided information about the costs of the pandemic in addition to the effects on people who test positive.

“Just a few days ago, we had 40 million cases globally and 1.1 million deaths,” he said. “The United States of American has been the worst-hit country in the world with 8.1 million cases and over 218,000 deaths.”

According to the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, more than 228,000 people have died as of Thursday evening. Deaths from the United States account for 19.4% of coronavirus-related deaths.

Forty-five percent of people who test positive are asymptomatic and can spread the virus to other people who may develop symptoms. Fauci noted people who contract the virus have varying outcomes based on factors such as age and personal health.

“For those who do develop symptoms, they are mild to moderate in about 80% of individuals,” he said. “By mild to moderate, we mean not necessarily requiring medical intubation except staying home and out of society.”

The remaining 15% of people, according to Fauci, face stronger symptoms and a higher chance of being placed on a ventilator or dying.

People who are diagnosed with the coronavirus may also experience lingering symptoms, including shortness of breath, headaches and organ scaring.

Fauci expressed optimism about a possible vaccine, noting health officials should know by early December if the vaccine will be a safe and effective option.

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