Dr Anthony Fauci has warned that America is still ‘knee deep in the first wave’ of coronavirus as daily case totals continue to push the 50,000 mark as states reopen.
The recent surge in infections has led many to fear that the US is experiencing a ‘second wave’ of the virus, but Fauci said that is far from the case because the first wave never ended.
‘If you look at the graphs from Europe, the European Union as an entity, [the case total] went up and then came down to baseline,’ he said.
‘Now they’re having little blips, as you might expect, as they try to reopen. We went up, never came down to baseline, and now we’re surging back up, so it’s a serious situation that we have to address immediately.’
The US recorded 47,126 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, bringing the overall total to more than 2.9million as Dr Fauci warns the first wave isn’t over
While cases have surged deaths have continued to fall – though a rise in deaths typically lags behind a rise in cases because of the time it takes someone to get sick enough to die
There were more than 47,000 new cases reported across the country Monday along with 337 new deaths, bringing the totals to 2,935,712 infections and 130,284 fatalities – the highest totals of any country in the world.
Fauci continued to urge people to wash their hands, wear masks and socially distance in public in order to avoid catching the virus.
He also warned younger people that they are not ‘invulnerable’ to getting serious infections, as crowds flock back to bars and other public places amid the reopening.
Even if they escape a serious infection themselves, then they risk passing the disease on to someone who might not survive it, he added.
Fourteen states have now hit record-high numbers of new daily infections since the start of July, with hospitals in two Texas counties hitting capacity over the weekend.
The number of people dying from the virus has remained stable or has declined, though deaths tend to lag behind cases because of the time it takes for someone to get sick enough to die.
Florida has now surpassed Arizona with the steepest and most alarming rise in cases in the US.
Despite fears that the recent surge is part of a ‘second wave’ of coronavirus, Fauci said the US has never left the first wave since cases never went into sustained decline
In just two weeks, the number of total infections there has doubled from 100,000 to more than 200,000 as of Sunday.
Arizona and Nevada also hit their respective record-high numbers of hospitalized coronavirus patients on Sunday, as the Mayors of both Austin and Houston, Texas, warned that their hospitals are on the brink of being overwhelmed.
Daily new case records were also set with alarmingly steep increases seen in states where the virus has been relatively quiet until recently: West Virginia, Tennessee and Montana.
Last week, national attention turned to Arizona and Texas, which each surpassed their previous record numbers of new cases in a single day over and over again.
Despite the spike in cases, falling death rates prompted White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany to claim on Monday that the world is looking to the US as a ‘leader’ on coronavirus.
‘It’s because of the extraordinary work that we’ve done on therapeutics and getting PPE and leading on ventilators and having excess ventilators that we were able to deploy around the world and help other countries,’ she added.
‘So that’s what I would have to say on COVID.’
Meanwhile Donald Trump tweeted insisting that schools must reopen in the fall, and accused Joe Biden of wanting to keep them close ‘for political reasons’.
Hospitals in two Texas counties hit capacity over the weekend as the number of cases in the state soars (pictured, a patient is admitted to hospital in Houston)
The number of cases has ballooned as states have attempted to reopen following partial closures (pictured, Miami beach in Florida which has been one of the hardest-hit states)
There are fears that July 4 celebrations will now drive a surge in new cases even in states that did beat their first wave, such as New York (pictured, bars open in the West Village)
Biden hasn’t advocated for keeping schools indefinitly closed, though on Friday he indicated that might be a reality because of recent spikes in COVID-19 cases.
Trump also has limited powers to keep schools open, since their operation mostly falls under the remit of state governors and local politicians.
Educators have struggled with decisions over opening schools considering the risk of infection to both students and faculty.
Some municipalities have pitched that students have a rotating schedule where they would have in-class learning part-time.
It will be largely up to the status of the outbreak and the physical size of the schools, so social distancing measures can be kept in place.
With the school year fast approaching, some governors have decided to prioritize school reopening over other businesses.
Last week, for instance, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer again ordered bars in the lower peninsula not serve patrons indoors, following several COVID-19 outbreaks.
‘If we want to be in a strong position to reopen schools for in-person classroom instruction this fall, then we need to take aggressive action right now to ensure we don’t wipe out all the progress we have made,’ Whitmer said.
Colleges and universities have announced a number of plans for the fall semester, including changing the calendars and holding some courses online.
Harvard University announced earlier on Monday that all of its courses would be held online for the upcoming academic year.