Dr Anthony Fauci say states experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases should consider shutting down, as he warned others to ‘be mindful of what happens when you throw caution to the wind’ and ignore health advice.
The nation’s top infectious disease expert and leader of the White House coronavirus taskforce issued a warning to Americans after the US saw a record-breaking 62,000 new cases in a single day.
Speaking to a Wall Street Journal podcast on Wednesday, Fauci said the troubling spikes are a result of local governments ignoring health guidelines in an eager ‘quest’ to reopen the economy.
He refused to put blame on states that are seeing surges after enacting reopening plans such as Florida and Texas, but said there has been ‘admission from within’.
‘Some states went too fast, [and] some states went by according to what the timetable was, but the people in the state didn’t listen,’ he said.
‘Any state that is having a serious problem, that state should seriously look at shutting down. It’s not for me to say because each state is different,’ he added.
He encouraged local governments to ‘tighten things up’ by closing bars and indoor dining at restaurants, and to ensure seating is safely spread out.
‘Make sure people wear masks, make sure they don’t congregate in crowds, make sure they keep their distance.
‘If you do those simple public health measures – guaranteed you’re going to see the curve come down. It’s happened time and again in virtually every country that’s done that,’ he said.
In a stark warning to states that seem to have gotten over the worst of the pandemic, Fauci said the surge should serve as a warning sign of what’s to come if they don’t reopen in a ‘measured way.’
He said southern states that are experiencing outbreaks should be focused on controlling the spread, while other states need to be ‘mindful of what happens when you open up and throw caution to the wind, because it can happen to you.’
‘In your quest to get things open quickly, don’t jump over the guidepost, don’t jump over the checkpoints. Do it in a measured way, the way the guidelines delineate.
‘If you do that, the chances of getting a surge are much, much less than if you just jump over things.’
‘It’s a complicated issue, you don’t wanna be blaming people. Once you start blaming people, you get off the message of “what are you going to do to correct it”,’ he said.
As of Thursday the US had a total of 3.05million confirmed cases.
More than 132,000 Americans have died since the pandemic began sweeping the nation in March, with 820 of those deaths recorded yesterday.
Deaths across the country have been trending downwards even as the number of infections surge to levels not seen throughout the pandemic.
California, once a model state for its response to the virus, has seen cases soar, and set a record-high number on Wednesday with 11,694 – although Gov Gavin Newsom says many are backlogs of previously unreported cases.
The Golden State state also reported its highest-single day death toll at 149.
Texas also set two records of its own. The highest number of fatalities were recorded on Tuesday, at around 112, and 15 percent of tests came bak positive, the most ever since the start of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, deaths have been trending up in Tulsa, Oklahoma – and statewide – which officials believe is linked to President Donald Trump’s rally held last month.
For the second consecutive day, the US has set a record-high number of coronavirus cases with more than 62,000 new infections reported in a single day (above)
Health officials say the death increases in California, Texas and other states was only inevitable and will likely push the national death rate up.
The Harvard Global Health Institute says national averages are misleading because states such as Illinois, Massachusetts and New York – where the virus is being suppressed – are bringing the overall numbers down.
But health experts say that deaths can lag anywhere from two to seven weeks and, often, the death rate represents cases that were diagnosed about a month or a month-and-a-half ago.
That’s because it can take at least a week after being infected to experience symptoms and get diagnosed, another week before someone is hospitalized and two to three weeks before a patient dies.
‘The hospitalizations and death counts we see today are only and always a picture of where the virus was weeks ago,’ the Harvard Global Health Institute says.
‘The rapid increase in cases in many states has been overshadowed because hospitalizations and death rates have not risen at the same pace. As a result, a false narrative is wrongly taking hold that COVID-19 has lost its teeth.’