Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House’s top infectious disease expert, warned of a ‘surprise outbreak’ in a speech given three years before the global COVID-19 pandemic.  

In his speech titled ‘Pandemic Preparedness in the Next Administration,’ Dr. Fauci told attendees at Georgetown University in January 2017 that the upcoming presidential administration would face ‘challenges’ with infectious diseases. 

At the time, President Trump had taken office that month.

Fauci said: ‘If there’s one message that I want to leave with you today that is based on my experience… there is no question that there will be a challenge [for] the coming administration in the arena of infectious diseases.

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Dr. Anthony Fauci (pictured), the White House's top infectious disease expert on the coronavirus task force, revealed in 2017 he feared a 'surprise outbreak'

Dr. Anthony Fauci (pictured), the White House's top infectious disease expert on the coronavirus task force, revealed in 2017 he feared a 'surprise outbreak'

Dr. Anthony Fauci (pictured), the White House’s top infectious disease expert on the coronavirus task force, revealed in 2017 he feared a ‘surprise outbreak’ 

‘But also there will be a surprise outbreak…there is no doubt in anyone’s mind [the administration] will be faced with challenges their predecessors were faced with.’  

Dr. Fauci, who served under five presidential administrations, later added that he cautioned former President George W. Bush to be more concerned with a potential ‘influenza pandemic’ than bioterrorism. 

‘I worry more about the natural occurrence of an influenza pandemic and the ongoing plague of HIV than I do about a bio-terror attack,’ he said, adding that people should pay attention to natural causes.  

The COVID-19 disease has infected more than one million people worldwide and killed around 64,000. Pictured: 'Medical staff load a patient infected with novel coronavirus, Covid-19, into a military A400M plane for transportation in France

The COVID-19 disease has infected more than one million people worldwide and killed around 64,000. Pictured: 'Medical staff load a patient infected with novel coronavirus, Covid-19, into a military A400M plane for transportation in France

The COVID-19 disease has infected more than one million people worldwide and killed around 64,000. Pictured: ‘Medical staff load a patient infected with novel coronavirus, Covid-19, into a military A400M plane for transportation in France 

In regards to the Trump administration, Fauci mentioned possible challenges that included a resurgence in the Zika Virus or a new flu pandemic.

He said: ‘What is for sure…history has told us definitively that it will happen because infectious diseases [are] a perpetual challenge.’

Like Dr. Fauci, other researchers and medical leaders, have long discussed a novel, unprecedented illness that would permeate the world and leave lasting effects on global societies.  

In 2015, Microsoft founder Bill Gates speculated in a Ted Talk that illness would be the cause of future mass casualties – not wars. 

‘If anything kills over 10 million people in the next few decades, it’s most likely to be a highly infectious virus rather than a war. Not missiles, but microbes,’ he said, citing lessons learned from Western Africa’s 2014 Ebola virus as reference.  

But the parameters and specific characteristics of the illness were unclear before COVID-19 appeared in Wuhan, China, in late-December. 

Since its first appearance last year, there are over one million confirmed coronavirus cases and at least 64,000 deaths.  

Although coronavirus initially devastated countries like China and Italy, the United States has become the world leader in confirmed cases at 300,087. At least 8,162 people have died.  

National epicenters like New York have taken the brunt of the deadly pandemic amid a shortage in medical supplies, like face masks and gloves, and a lapse in COVID-19 testing. 

Pictured: Bodies are seen inside a makeshift morgue outside Wyckoff Hospital amid an outbreak of coronavirus disease in Brooklyn, New York

Pictured: Bodies are seen inside a makeshift morgue outside Wyckoff Hospital amid an outbreak of coronavirus disease in Brooklyn, New York

Pictured: Bodies are seen inside a makeshift morgue outside Wyckoff Hospital amid an outbreak of coronavirus disease in Brooklyn, New York

In the United States, more than 113,000 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus and some 8,000 have passed away. Pictured: Nurses put their names on protective clothing to be worn many times while resting outside the Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in Brooklyn

In the United States, more than 113,000 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus and some 8,000 have passed away. Pictured: Nurses put their names on protective clothing to be worn many times while resting outside the Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in Brooklyn

In the United States, more than 113,000 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus and some 8,000 have passed away. Pictured: Nurses put their names on protective clothing to be worn many times while resting outside the Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in Brooklyn

New York state has seen a staggering 113,704 confirmed cases and a rising death toll of 3,565. The Big Apple accounts for 63,306 infections and 2,624 as of Saturday. 

President Trump said Saturday that Americans should brace for ‘lot of deaths’ in the upcoming weeks and that it will be a ‘very horrendous’ time for the US. 

‘But there will be death,’ he admitted before continuing to tout the use of the malaria drug, hydroxychloroquine, as a treatment.  

‘This will probably be the toughest week – between this week and next week,’ Trump told reporters.

‘There will be a lot of death, unfortunately. But a lot less death than if this wasn’t done,’ he added of the measures taken to prevent the spread of the virus.’

Meanwhile, the pandemic has dealt blows to the world economy and, in the United States, the Dow Jones has stumbled amid financial uncertainties. 

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits last week has shot to a record 6.6 million – as layoffs increased amid the coronavirus pandemic and more states enforced stay-at-home orders.

New claims for unemployment benefits rose to 6.65 million in the week ending March 28, according to figures released by the Department of Labor on Thursday.

Those figures suggest the United States lost about 6% of its 152 million jobs in half a month.

Pictured: Members of the Civil Protection and Carabinieri carry a coffin of a Covid-19 dead man on Saturday in Bergamo, Italy

Pictured: Members of the Civil Protection and Carabinieri carry a coffin of a Covid-19 dead man on Saturday in Bergamo, Italy

Pictured: Members of the Civil Protection and Carabinieri carry a coffin of a Covid-19 dead man on Saturday in Bergamo, Italy

The number of first-time applications for jobless benefits was double the previous record of 3.3 million new claims filed for the week ending March 21.

Critics of Trump’s coronavirus response fear the United States will slide into a recession as businesses remain closed.  

Trump signaled that it was a ‘good idea’ to assemble a second coronavirus task force to come up with a plan to reopen the economy.  

The president was responding to a Friday tweet from Dana Perino, the White House press secretary under President George W. Bush and current Fox News Channel host.

‘I think we need a 2nd task force assembled at the direction of POTUS to look ahead to reopening of the economy,’ Perino wrote. ‘Made up of a nonpartisan/bipartisan mix of experts across industry sectors, so that we have their recommendations & plan – let 1st taskforce focus on crisis at the moment.’ 

He previously pushed for an April 12 deadline to have American’s return to work, but settled for social distancing orders to continue through the end of the month. 

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