• Dr. Anthony in a new interview describes the COVID-19 pandemic as his “worst nightmare” come to life, but he adds that there’s hope on the horizon thanks to progress on a coronavirus vaccine.
  • He also explains why everyone’s focus now is necessarily turning to how to open the world back up again safely.
  • As of Tuesday evening, a little more than 1.9 million coronavirus infections have been identified to-date in the US, according to Johns Hopkins University.

On a day when the number of coronavirus infections in the US inched closer to 2 million, according to the latest numbers from Johns Hopkins University, everybody’s favorite coronavirus soothsayer, Dr. Anthony Fauci, sat for a new interview in which he both kind of terrified me anew — but also offered a good bit of hope, thanks to sharing some updated information about coronavirus vaccines that are in the works around the world.

In an interview with the BIO Digital virtual health-care conference that aired Tuesday, per CNBC, Fauci — who’s also the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases — described the COVID-19 virus and the pandemic that’s ensued around it as his “worst nightmare.” That’s partly because of the fact that “in a period, if you just think about it, in a period of four months, it has devastated the world.”

Continued Fauci: “That’s millions and millions of infections worldwide. And it isn’t over yet. And it’s condensed in a very, very small timeframe. You know, first notice at the end of December, hit China in January, hit the rest of the world and February, March, April, May, early June.”

For me, to hear one of the sanest voices of reason who everybody has constantly turned to throughout this crisis call this his “worst nightmare” is the kind of thing that gives you pause and makes you wonder whether you’re as concerned about this as you need to be. However, the good doctor tempers all that with some updated news about where things stand on the coronavirus vaccine development front.

For example, Fauci — who says he’s “very heartened” by a pharmaceutical industry that’s “stepped up to the plate” — proclaimed a certainty that there will actually be more than one winner when it comes to the successful identification of a vaccine. And speaking of vaccines, the World Health Organization said that more than 124 are under development as of June 2.

In a separate interview also broadcast on Tuesday, meanwhile, Fauci expounds on these same comments, along with other topics (like the World Health Organization’s messy commentary yesterday about the asymptomatic spread of the coronavirus, or lack thereof. Fauci seems to agree with the WHO in the clip below, explaining that asymptomatic infected people aren’t the main “driver” of spread of the coronavirus).

“We’ve never been in a situation like that ever in history, where we had to essentially shut down the planet,” Fauci went on to say about the unprecedented lockdowns. “I mean, if you look at the globe, and the more than 200-plus countries that have been afflicted, almost all of them had that shutdown. That is unprecedented right now.”

Little by little though, he continued, that’s all changing — “as we march forward to some sort of normalization and reopening not only our country, but the rest of the world.”

Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.