Dr. Anthony Fauci salutes Colorado’s frontline workers as they face tough COVID-19 surge

Fauci joined Colorado Gov. Jared Polis to encourage Coloradans to stay strong as the cases of COVID-19 surge to record levels. He said 'help is on the way,' and that he's eager to get a vaccine.
Dec. 2, 2020
Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks about COVID in Colorado
Dr. Anthony Fauci thanked Colorado health care workers and called on all Coloradans to work together a little longer to “crush” the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo courtesy of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

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The nation’s leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, took time on Tuesday to salute and thank Colorado health workers.

“I’m tipping my hat and saluting the very brave frontline workers in Colorado who put themselves on the line literally every single day and every single night in order to take care of the people of Colorado,” Fauci said during a briefing with Colorado Gov. Jared Polis.

“You really are heroes. Thank you very much for what you are doing,” said Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Unfortunately, health care works face an even tougher challenge in the coming weeks. Fauci and many other public health experts fear “a surge upon a surge” during December after millions of people traveled over the Thanksgiving holiday and held larger holiday gatherings than experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had recommended.

“I think we’re going to be looking at 30 or more days… of precarious risk,” Fauci said. “Even though we are out of the Thanksgiving season, we are going to rapidly emerge into the season of people shopping, crowding, preparing, perhaps even the ill-advised office parties if they can exist anymore and then the Christmas holidays and then New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

“It’s in our hands right now to see if we can mitigate it,” Fauci said.

He emphasized that public health measures will help drive down infections if people will continue to do their best. These measures include: “uniform wearing of masks, physical distancing, avoiding crowds…doing as much outdoors as you possibly can and washing your hands frequently.”

While health care providers face a tough month, Fauci said there’s good news too: “Help is on the way.”

He expects the first 40 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to begin making their way around the U.S. this month. By the fall of 2021, the pandemic could ease dramatically, Fauci said.

“We can crush this outbreak, just the way we did with small pox, with polio and with measles,” Fauci said. “We can do it. We just need to hang together a bit longer because, not only Colorado, but so many states are at the brink of being overrun with reagard to their capabilities of taking care of people in a proper way, particularly in intensive care units.”

In addition to his role in fighting the pandemic, Fauci also sees patients. He said he is eager to get his vaccine, and he’s urging all health care workers to do the same.

“We feel confident that a (COVID-19) vaccine is safe and highly efficacious,” Fauci said.

An independent board of scientists, medical experts and ethicists have been carefully reviewing data from vaccine clinical trials, Fauci said.

“They looked at the data and independently determined that (the vaccines are) safe and effective,” Fauci said. “These are career scientists, not political appointees.

“I am also a health care worker. I will get vaccinated when my time arrives.”

About the author

Katie Kerwin McCrimmon is a proud Coloradan. She attended Colorado College thanks to a merit scholarship from the Boettcher Foundation and worked as a park ranger in Rocky Mountain National Park during summers in college.

Katie is a dedicated storyteller who loves getting to know UCHealth patients and providers and sharing their inspiring stories.

Katie spent years working as an award-winning journalist at the Rocky Mountain News and at an online health policy news site before joining UCHealth in 2017.

Katie and her husband, Cyrus — a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer — have three adult children and love spending time in the Colorado mountains and traveling around the world.