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Governor Polis Provides Update on Response to COVID-19, Joined by Dr. Anthony Fauci

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KSUT
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Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in a screebgrab of a press conference Tuesday, December 1

Colorado Governor Jared Polis appeared Tuesday for the first time since testing positive with COVID-19 last weekend. It was in a virtual press conference with Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.  

Reporting by Sarah Flower/article text by Mark Duggan

Both Fauci and Polis sounded notes of warning over the continuing spread of the virus, even as the health care system is increasingly strained by COVID cases. State health officials say southwest Colorado has less than 10 percent of intensive care unit beds available. According to Fauci, it could quickly get worse.

“Because not only Colorado but so many states are at the brink of being overrun with regard to their capability of taking care of people,” he explained.

Fauci, who serves as the country's top expert on infectious diseases, pleaded with people to keep wearing masks and avoid indoor gatherings.

Polis appeared in the press conference while under quarantine.

The governor said that state health officials are in daily contact with communities in southwest Colorado, including the Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute tribes. Some of the outreach even extends into New Mexico. Polis noted that when it comes to public health, state borders are meaningless.

“In many ways, the state dividing line is an arbitrary line between the communities,” the governor said. “The hospital capacity is shared, the community capacity is shared.”

Polis and Fauci also addressed the impending distribution of several vaccines and discussed potential inoculation schedules. According to Polis, critical members of Colorado's population, such as health care workers and the elderly, are weeks away from having access to a COVID vaccine.

Fauci agreed and predicted that the general population will be able to get inoculated by the spring of 2021.

“Once we get there, we can crush this outbreak,” Fauci added. “Just the way we did with smallpox, with polio, and measles.”

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