(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — While the nation is experiencing civil unrest over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after police were filmed kneeling on his neck, Doctor Anthony Fauci says his daily meetings with President Donald Trump regarding COVID-19 “have been dramatically decreased” since the protests started.
“As you probably noticed, that the task force meetings have not occurred as often lately,” Fauci told Stat, an American health-oriented news website. “And certainly my meetings with the president have been dramatically decreased.”
Fauci, who is the head of the national Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, also confirmed the president hasn’t been forthcoming with talks regarding vaccine development. However, when asked if it is possible that a vaccine will be made available by 2021, Facui said it was “aspirational, but it’s certainly doable.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has infected over 6.1 million people across the globe and killed over 373,000. In the U.S., the virus has sickened 1.8 million people, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. As for the nation’s death toll, it is approaching 105,000.
Fauci maintained that the possibility of a second wave of COVID-19 striking this fall is likely and encouraged Americans to keep practicing social distancing measures and to wear a mask.
Due to the protests, photos shows crowds of people standing close together with some not wearing masks — further stoking fears that, should a second wave hit, it could be stronger than the first due to the amount of people rallying for peace.
In addition, health officials believe that high blood pressure — which affects 45 percent of the American population — could be a “silent killer” when combined with COVID-19. It has been noted that high blood pressure is a common thread among hospitalized patients.
One study found that 63 percent of ICU patients with COVID-19 also had baseline hypertension. Because of that, researchers are looking into how the virus impacts the cardiovascular system and how it increases risk of severe symptoms for those with high blood pressure.