Covid-19 vaccine will be 'reality' by year-end: Fauci

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US top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said on Friday that he is "cautiously optimistic" that the USA could have coronavirus vaccine in late fall or early winter this year.

"As effective covid-19 vaccines emerge from our research effort, this manufacturing capability is going to be very important", Fauci said at the worldwide symposium on vaccines against the covid-19 pandemic, hosted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

Chairman James Clyburn speaks during a House Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on July 31.

Fauci's warning came as U.S. COVID-19 death count surpassed 150,000 on Wednesday.

All three health officials testified in the Senate a month ago, during which Fauci told lawmakers that the federal government is "not in total control" of the outbreak and warned USA cases could ultimately reach 100,000 per day.

The novel coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 662,000 people worldwide so far and more than 16.8 million people across the world have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data from the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. He added that while Europe dropped down to just a few thousand new cases a day, the USA bottomed out at 20,000 new cases a day, which created a hard baseline with which to work.

Public health experts say masks help prevent an infected person who has yet to develop symptoms from passing the virus to others. When Fauci said he was not in a position to make such a recommendation, the lawmaker retorted: "You make all kinds of recommendations".

The state is seeing one of the fastest per-capita increases in COVID-19 cases, with an average of 2,391 cases per day - up about 26% from the average two weeks ago. "I think we got to be careful with the main thought being, we want to try as best as possible to get the children back to school".

Birx has toured those states in the past week, meeting with officials in each state.

Fauci said earlier this week that parts of the United States can't afford another surge of cases. "We've got to do the things that are very clear that we need to do to turn this around", Fauci told PBS NewsHour.

"I don't know how to address that", Fauci said.

He said controlling the outbreaks will require people to wear masks, avoid crowded indoor spaces and wash their hands frequently.