Dr. Anthony Fauci offered a stark warning to young Americans Friday about the role they might play in the spread of the coronavirus, even if they consider themselves unlikely to suffer the worst effects of the disease.
‘If you get infected you are part innocently or inadvertently of propagating the dynamic processes of a pandemic,’ he told them.
Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, made a point of addressing remarks to young people at the first coronavirus task force briefing in two months. There has been a sharp drop in the age of infected people, and multiple officials warned Friday about concerns younger people would transmit the virus amid states opening up and relaxing social distancing.
‘When you get infected, you will infect someone else who clearly will infect someone else,’ Dr. Anthony Fauci told young people at Friday’s coronavirus task force briefing
He noted that anyone who gets infected is part of a ‘dynamic process.’ He sought to avoid lecturing, and pointed to his own youth. ‘I know because I can understand when I was at a stage in my life when i said, well, I’m invulnerable, so I’m going to take a risk,’ said Fauci, 79.
He told younger people: ‘Although you may feel well, and because we know if you look at the numbers that you are probably here later on, the overwhelming majority now of people getting infected are young people, likely the people that you see in the clips and in the paper who are out in crowds enjoying themselves – understandably, no blame there, understandably – but the thing that you really need to realize, when you do that, you are part of a process.’
‘When you have an outbreak of an infectious disease, it’s a dynamic process that is global,’ Fauci instructed.
‘I just want to bring this out without making it seem that anybody is at fault, you have an individual responsibility to yourself – but you have a society responsibility, because if we want to end this outbreak, really end it and then hopefully when a vaccine comes and puts the nail in the coffin – we’ve got the realize that we are part of the process.’
‘When you get infected, you will infect someone else who clearly will infect someone else,’ he noted.
He said what was most challenging about COVID-19 was the high percentage of people who don’t show symptoms but still spread the virus. That means young people going out to restaurants or bars as states reopen could be spreading the virus without even knowing it.
Fauci issued the caution amid news that Texas and Florida are forcing bars to close for the second time and Arizona’s residents are being told to stay home as the states scramble to contain outbreaks amid record spikes in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
Governor Greg Abbott gave bars in Texas until midday on Friday to close down, while Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation told bars to immediately stop serving alcohol on their premises.
The abrupt announcements marked a major step back by both states less than two months after aggressively reopening and becoming the first in the United States to lift lockdown measures.
Abbott, who allowed bars to reopen in May when thousands of revelers flouting social distancing rules celebrated Memorial Day weekend, forced them to close again from Friday and scaled back restaurant dining to 50 percent capacity – the most dramatic reversals yet as confirmed coronavirus cases surge.
He also said rafting and tubing outfitters on Texas’ popular rivers must close and that outdoor gatherings of 100 people or more must be approved by local governments.
The Florida agency that governs bars also said Friday the consumption of alcohol at bars across the state would be prohibited immediately as daily infections soared to nearly 9,000 – shattering the daily tolls from the previous two days.
The United States, already the hardest-hit country in the world with close to 125,000 deaths, never fully emerged from its first COVID-19 wave. Following a weeks-long plateau, new cases are once again back to where they were in April.
The number of infections across the US rose by nearly 40,000 on Thursday in the largest single-day increase since the pandemic started.
TEXAS: Texas Governor Greg Abbott gave bars in the state until midday on Friday to close down as officials scramble to contain outbreaks amid record spikes in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Pictured above is the crowded Handlebar in Houston, Texas last month
FLORIDA: Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation told bars to immediately stop serving alcohol on their premises on Friday. Pictured is Lynch’s Irish Pub in Jacksonville Beach where several people tested positive for the virus after going to the bar
Bar owner Petros J Markantonis changes the sign outside his bar to “Closed Again” at the West Alabama Ice House in Houston, Texas on Friday after Gov Abbott forced them to close again
President Donald Trump has repeatedly said the surge in new cases is down to increased testing. He tweeted Thursday night that deaths are ‘way down’ and that America’s mortality rate was ‘one of the lowest in the world’.
Health officials have warned that while deaths appear to be declining, it could potentially shoot back up again because fatality rates often lag behind infection rates.
Under the newest rollbacks in Texas, bars must close from noon on Friday. Restaurant dining rooms must scale back to half capacity starting on Monday. Gov. Abbott did not say when bars might reopen again. The bars that are effected are ones that get 51 percent of their gross receipts from alcohol.
The shuttering of rafting and tubing businesses comes after people consistently packed waterways since the state reopened in May and ahead of the Fourth of July holiday weekend that typically sees big turnouts.
‘As I said from the start, if the positivity rate rose above 10%, the State of Texas would take further action to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,’ Abbott said. ‘At this time, it is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars.’
Texas has reported more than 17,000 confirmed new cases in the last three days with a record high positive tests of 5,996 on Thursday.
The day’s tally of 4,739 hospitalizations was also a record. The state’s rolling infection rate hit nearly 12 percent, a level not seen since the state was in a broad lockdown in mid-April.
The surge in hospitalizations has resulted in the largest pediatric hospital in the country opting to start treating adult patients in Houston to help free up beds. Statewide, the number of COVID-19 patients has more than doubled in two weeks.
The spike in cases prompted officials in Harris County, which encompasses the city of Houston, to initiate another stay-at-home order for residents.
The turnaround from Abbott came soon after he announced on Thursday that he was halting elective surgeries in the largest counties and said the state would ‘pause’ its aggressive reopening weeks after he began lifting restrictions.
His initial pause on reopening was not supposed to roll back previous orders that allowed much of the economy to reopen. The state was among the first in the country to begin lifting its lockdown measures on May 1.
Until this week, Abbott had maintained that worsening trends in June were a matter of concern but not alarm.
TEXAS CASES: Texas has reported more than 17,000 confirmed new cases in the last three days with a record high positive tests of 5,996 on Thursday
TEXAS HOSPITAL: The day’s tally of 4,739 hospitalizations was also a record. The state’s rolling infection rate hit nearly 12 percent, a level not seen since the state was in a broad lockdown in mid-April
TEXAS DEATHS: Deaths spiked to 47 on Thursday in Texas compared to the record 58 on May 15
FLORIDA: The state has reported 8,942 new coronavirus cases, which is up from the previous record for a single-day increase of 5,508 cases on Wednesday. In total, the state has reported 122,960 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and at least 3,366 coronavirus-related deaths
He quickly struck a newly urgent tone this week, urging people to stay home while warning that a ‘massive outbreak’ is sweeping through Texas.
He has also now urged Texans to wear masks in public but stopped short of issuing a statewide mask order.
The state’s cities and counties have imposed new orders on businesses to require customers and workers to wear face coverings after Abbott initially prohibited local officials from fining or penalizing anyone for not wearing a mask.
Florida officials also announced on Friday that the consumption of alcohol at bars across the state was now prohibited as daily infections soared to nearly 9,000 – shattering the daily tolls from the previous two days.
The Department of Business and Professional Regulation said it was suspending on premises consumption of alcohol at bars statewide.
It comes after Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis said on Thursday he was pausing the state’s reopening due to the surge in cases as he resisted calls to mandate masks.
The state has reported 8,942 new coronavirus cases, which is up from the previous record for a single-day increase of 5,508 cases on Wednesday.
In total, the state has reported 122,960 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and at least 3,366 coronavirus-related deaths. Florida’s seven-day average positivity rate for coronavirus tests reached 14.4 percent this week. By comparison, it was 3.8 percent on June 1 and 2.3 percent on May 25.
‘We are where we are,’ DeSantis said, adding that many of the new cases are in younger, healthier people.
He said people can avoid spreading the virus by wearing masks, along with avoiding big crowds and not being within close quarters with lots of other people indoors.
ARIZONA CASES: The number of infections in Arizona surged again on Thursday with just over 3,000 new cases reported
ARIZONA DEATHS: Arizona recorded 27 new deaths on Thursday, compared to the 67 deaths recorded on May 8
ARIZONA HOSPITALS: There are currently 4,400 people hospitalized in the state with coronavirus and 1,400 of those are in ICU beds
ARIZONA ICU CAPACITY: Arizona is nearing hospital bed capacity with 88 percent of ICU beds occupied as of Thursday
Arizona Gov Doug Ducey, also a Republican, is also telling residents to stay home and on Thursday declared the state was ‘on pause’ as hospitals accelerate toward capacity.
The number of infections in Arizona surged again on Thursday with just over 3,000 new cases reported. In Arizona, 23 percent of tests conducted over the past seven days have been positive, nearly triple the national average.
There are currently 4,400 people hospitalized in the state with coronavirus and 1,400 of those are in ICU beds. A record 415 patients are on ventilators in the state.
Arizona is nearing hospital bed capacity with 88 percent of ICU beds occupied as of Thursday.
In Arizona, Ducey had resisted pressure to close restaurants as the virus first spread back in March, saying the state wasn’t seeing explosive growth like New York and didn’t need to act so aggressively. The Democratic mayors of Phoenix, Tucson, Flagstaff and elsewhere imposed their own restrictions.
The governor responded with an executive order closing restaurants in counties with known coronavirus infections but also defining some businesses cities couldn’t restrict, including golf courses.
Last week, Ducey changed his mind. Under extreme pressure to act as COVID-19 cases soar, Ducey gave local leaders the power to require masks, while avoiding making it a statewide mandate.
The numbers ‘continue to go in the wrong direction,’ Ducey said on Thursday.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, has warned of another potential lockdown due to surging cases in his state. He said he would only shut down businesses again only if the health care system became seriously strained.
In California, 5,349 new cases were reported on Thursday – down from the record 7,100 new cases a day earlier. Hospitalizations have also reached record highs across the state with about 1,500 suspected or confirmed patients requiring intensive care.
While Newsom said part of the rise was due to testing, much is the result of people failing to engage in safe practices when gathering with friends and family, or visiting newly reopened businesses.
Los Angeles County now has the most cases of all US counties with more than 85,000 confirmed infections. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti this week urged residents to stay home and wear masks while out in public.
CALIFORNIA: In California, 5,349 new cases were reported on Thursday – down from the record 7,100 new cases a day earlier. Hospitalizations have also reached record highs across the state with about 1,500 suspected or confirmed patients requiring intensive care
Following a weeks-long plateau, new cases are once again back to where they were in April. The number of infections across the US rose by nearly 40,000 on Thursday in the largest single-day increase since the pandemic started
The United States neared 125,000 deaths from COVID-19 on Friday. A spike of 2,490 was recorded on Thursday due to New Jersey reported 1,796 probable deaths for the first time
As an alarming coronavirus resurgence sets records for confirmed cases and hospitalizations across the South and West, governors are retreating to measures they once resisted and striking a more urgent tone.
‘I think they’re going to have to,’ said Dr Mark McClellan, former head of the Food and Drug Administration. ‘It doesn’t take most people in a community getting sick to overwhelm health care systems.’
Critics bristle that the actions are too little, or worse, possibly too late as patients fill up intensive-care beds and the US closes in on hitting all-time highs for daily confirmed cases.
While newly confirmed infections have been declining steadily in early hot spots like New York and New Jersey, several other states set single-day records this week, including Arizona, California, Mississippi, Nevada, Texas and Oklahoma. Some of them also broke hospitalization records, as did North Carolina and South Carolina.
Coronavirus cases surge among young Americans with outbreak clusters linked to bars and parties across the country
Health officials warn coronavirus cases are climbing rapidly among young adults in a number of states where bars, stores and restaurants have reopened – a disturbing generational shift that not only puts them in greater peril than many realize but poses an even bigger danger to older people who cross their paths.
In Oxford, Mississippi, summer fraternity parties sparked outbreaks. In Oklahoma City, church activities, fitness classes, weddings and funerals seeded infections among people in their 20s, 30s and 40s.
In Iowa college towns, surges followed the reopening of bars. A cluster of hangouts near Louisiana State University led to at least 100 customers and employees testing positive.
In East Lansing, Michigan, 51 people have tested positive for coronavirus after going to a bar that reopened at 50 percent capacity two weeks ago.
Health officials say the cluster of cases has been linked to the Harper’s Restaurant and Brewpub in Lansing in Ingham County. All of the people with cases linked to Harper’s are between the ages of 19 and 23. A number are connected to Michigan State University.
A cluster of about 300 teenagers are also believed to have been exposed to COVID-19 at a ‘pongfest’ party in Travis County, Texas on June 20.
There and in states like Florida, Texas and Arizona, young people have started going out again, many without masks, in what health experts see as irresponsible behavior.
Texas Gov Abbott has now ordered rafting and tubing outfitters on Texas’ popular rivers to close and said that outdoor gatherings of 100 people or more must be approved by local governments
In East Lansing, Michigan, 51 people have tested positive for coronavirus after going to a bar that reopened at 50 percent capacity two weeks ago
Health officials say the cluster of cases has been linked to the Harper’s Restaurant and Brewpub in Lansing in Ingham County. All of the people with cases linked to Harper’s are between the ages of 19 and 23. Data shows that 24 percent of Ingham County’s 888 COVID-19 cases are people aged between 20 and 29
‘The virus hasn’t changed. We have changed our behaviors,’ said Ali Mokdad, professor of health metrics sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle. ‘Younger people are more likely to be out and taking a risk.’
Elected officials such as Florida’s governor have argued against reimposing restrictions, saying many of the newly infected are young and otherwise healthy.
But younger people, too, face the possibility of severe infection and death. In the past week, two 17-year-olds in Florida died of the virus.
Authorities worry that older, more vulnerable people are next.
Health experts say the fact that younger people – who have so far been less likely to be hospitalized – are now accounting for a large number of the new cases could have have an impact on the death toll in several weeks.
They point to the fact that young people could currently be infecting their elderly relatives and other at-risk people, which could drive up hospitalizations and deaths.
‘People between the ages 18 and 50 don’t live in some sort of a bubble,’ Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt said.
‘They are the children and grandchildren of vulnerable people. They may be standing next to you at a wedding. They might be serving you a meal in a restaurant.’
Figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that almost as soon as states began reopening, people 18 to 49 years old quickly became the age bracket most likely to be diagnosed with new cases.
Although every age group saw an increase in cases during the first week in June, the numbers shot up fastest among 18- to 49-year-olds.
For the week ending June 7, there were 43 new cases per 100,000 people in that age bracket, compared with 28 cases per 100,000 people over 65.