“In other words, when you get a whole new virus that turns out to be a pandemic virus, it’s either because of mutations and / or reassortment or gene trading,” he told lawmakers. . “And they see viruses in pigs, in pigs now, which have characteristics of the 2009 H1N1, the original from 1918, many of which our influenza viruses contain remains, as well as segments of other hosts, like pigs. ”
Both the H1N1 swine flu and the pandemic influenza of 1918 were considered horrible viruses that spread around the world.
H1N1 swine flu first appeared in Mexico in April 2009, infecting 60.8 million people in the United States alone and at least 700 million worldwide. It is estimated that 151,700 to 575,400 people have died from the virus worldwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is now considered one of the many seasonal flu viruses.
The 1918 flu, which Fauci often compared to Covid-19, killed between 30 million and 50 million people, according to the CDC. In comparison, more than 20 million people died during the First World War.
The new strain, which is spreading in pig farms in China, has been identified as having “all the essential characteristics of a candidate pandemic virus,” the scientists said.
Fauci’s comments came as the coronavirus continues to spread rapidly in the United States, with the seven-day average of new cases increasing by 5% or more in at least 40 states, including Arizona, Texas, Florida and Oklahoma, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Public health officials and doctors have criticized the Trump administration’s lack of a coordinated response to the virus. In recent weeks, President Donald Trump has played down the virus, saying that the United States is approaching the end of the pandemic, unlike experts from his own administration.
Earlier this month, Fauci said that Covid-19 had turned out to be his “worst nightmare,” as the coronavirus continues to spread rapidly around the world.
He said the virus is “very different” from other epidemics like Ebola and HIV. The virus has jumped from an animal host and has a high degree of transmissibility and mortality, he said. It was historically one of the worst pandemics the world has ever known, he said, adding that people compared it to the 1918 flu.
First detected in Wuhan, China about six months ago, the new coronavirus has already infected more than 10.4 million people worldwide, killing more than 500,000 people.
Fauci told lawmakers on Tuesday that he was concerned about the increase in the number of new cases in places like Texas and Florida.
He said reopening schools in the fall will depend on the dynamics of the epidemic and the specific location of the school.