Disease expert Fauci says he feared virus like COVID-19 'many years ago'

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, foreshadowed a virus like COVID-19 ravaging the country many years ago.

Speaking with FOX 5 NY program, 'Good Day New York' on Wednesday, the Brooklyn native said he's on record describing a pandemic like the one caused by COVID-19.

"Sure enough, what kept me up at night years ago and for many, many years was the appearance of something that we're going through right now."

— Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House Coronavirus Task Force

"People used to ask me prior to coronavirus, Tony, what keeps you up at night?, said Dr. Fauci. "My answer was always very consistent. It was the evolution and appearance of a brand new infection that is spread by the respiratory root that is efficient in its spread and that has a high degree of morbidity and mortality. The most likely thing would be that that would be a brand new influenza. But, I've said in the past, and I'm on the record for saying, that it might be something other than influenza. Sure enough, what kept me up at night years ago and for many, many years was the appearance of something that we're going through right now."

The number of deaths related to COVID-19 in the United States topped 4,000 as of Tuesday night.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday said that the number of deaths due to coronavirus had jumped to 1,550. Most of those deaths have been in New York City, which reported Tuesday afternoon that 1,096 people have died.

New York recorded 9,298 new cases, bringing the state's total to 75,795. More than 10,929 people have been hospitalized with more than 2,700 people under intensive care.

"What's keeping me up right now is that we get an adequate response to this terrible challenge that has been put before us. People are out there suffering and they're dying. Right now, New York City is baring the brunt of this burden. If you look at the new infections in this country, more than half are coming from the NYC metro area. That is another semi-nightmare that the place where I was born and raised is suffeirng the most. So that hurt," said Dr. Fauci.