At a press conference Governor Phil Scott was joined by Anthony Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to discuss Vermont and the nation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Governor Scott, who extended the State of Emergency to October 15 on Friday, detailed the state’s progress in suppressing the virus in Vermont. The Governor highlighted the value of relying on the available science and public health experts at the Vermont Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and credited the vigilance of Vermonters in adhering to health guidance.
“This is a once-in-a-century challenge, but our health experts have managed infectious diseases before and have been learning and adapting to this new virus quickly, helping to contain the spread,” said Governor Scott. “That’s why each decision we’ve made has gone through Dr. Levine and our team at the Health Department because I know how important it is to put health first in our response. And we’re not doing this work alone. We have incredible federal partners at the CDC and beyond who are also working hard to keep Americans safe.”
The State’s latest data and modeling, presented on Friday, showed Vermont continues to have the lowest positivity rate in the country at 0.2% – a rate that has held steady for months. Vermont also has the lowest rate of total infection at 261 cases per 100,000 people while the national average is 1,845 per 100,000.
Fauci gave remarks, reflecting on Vermont’s response and national trends, and took questions from members of the media.
“I was sitting here listening to the numbers that [Governor Scott] said, and I would wonder if I could bottle that and take that with me when I go around talking to other parts of the country,” said Fauci during the press conference.
Addressing the impact of Vermont’s population density on its case trends, Fauci said, “It’s not a question of density or not, it’s a question of what you did or did not do correctly, and from the numbers that I’ve seen Vermont has done it correctly.”
The state’s lead health expert – Health Commissioner Mark Levine, M.D. – also provided his regular update on disease prevalence in Vermont, and Education Secretary Dan French gave an update on school reopening one week after students returned for the fall semester.
Fauci concluded his remarks by encouraging Vermonters to remain vigilant in their everyday practices to slow spread. “At the same time that I’m giving kudos to Vermont for doing so well, the message that I’d like all of the citizens of Vermont to hear is that this virus is a formidable foe. So please, you’ve done so well, don’t let your guard down. Let’s everybody keep our guard up and not be complacent,” he added.
Fauci is a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. He has served as director of NIAID since 1984, overseeing research to prevent, diagnose and treat established infectious diseases and emerging diseases. Fauci has advised six U.S. presidents on domestic and global health issues. View his full bio at https://www.niaid.nih.gov/about/anthony-s-fauci-md-bio.
For more information on:
• Vermont COVID-19 health information, guidance and case data, visit www.healthvermont.gov/covid19.
• Governor Scott and the State’s actions, visit https://governor.vermont.gov/covid19response.
• The State’s modeling, visit https://dfr.vermont.gov/about-us/covid-19/modeling.