“When you are dealing with the kind of resurgences that we’re seeing in certain locations — and there is community spread which is clearly going on in a situation in which a substantial proportion of the infected people might be without symptoms — the standard process of identification, isolation and contact tracing does not seem to be adequate,” he said. “Therefore, we are seriously considering additional approaches, one of which is pooled testing.”
Dr. Fauci said the White House coronavirus task force is also considering ways to beef up contact tracing, so that it is done not in telephone but in person, by people who can persuade those at risk of infection to isolate themselves.
“A certain number of people don’t want to stop working and get out of circulation,” he said, adding, “You have to get people that the community trusts to get out there, that are on the ground, in person, not making phone calls but actually making sure that you really can isolate them.”
After two months on hiatus, the task force will resume its public briefings on Friday afternoon, a sign of the urgency of new outbreaks across the country and of the panel’s role in explaining the ways in which the virus is now spreading.
The group, which will be led by Mr. Pence and include Dr. Birx and Dr. Fauci, will speak to reporters at the headquarters of the Department of Health and Human Services, where they are expected to highlight new data from areas where outbreaks have been particularly harsh, senior administration officials said.
The Friday briefing is a significant re-emergence for the task force, whose health officials have been largely sidelined at the White House even as states have recorded record numbers of cases this week.
Since early May, the panel has had a dwindling presence in the White House, where health officials at one point gathered every day for long hours as cases peaked around the country in April.