Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US’s top infectious disease expert, warned Tuesday that the country could see as many as 100,000 daily coronavirus infections if states where cases are surging don’t begin taking stronger measures to combat the spread.
Fauci issued the grim warning to a Senate committee while discussing President Donald Trump’s response to the deadly virus.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) referred to comments Fauci made in March, when he theorized the U.S. could see between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths from COVID-19, with millions more infected, before the end of the pandemic. As of late June, there have been more than 125,000 deaths in the U.S.
“Based on what you’re seeing now, how many COVID deaths and infections should America expect before this is all over?” Warren asked Tuesday.
“I can’t make an accurate prediction, but it is going to be very disturbing, I can guarantee you that,” Fauci replied. “Because when you have an outbreak in one part of the country, even though in other parts of the country they’re doing well, they are vulnerable.”
States such as New York have seen a decline in cases, but others, including Texas, Arizona and Florida, are seeing a resurgence of infections as politicians have pushed to reopen businesses. At least 16 states have now paused their reopening plans amid the spike in cases.
“We can’t just focus on those areas that are having the surge. It puts the entire country at risk,” Fauci said. “We are now having 40-plus thousand new cases a day, I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 cases a day if this does not turn around, so I am very concerned.”
Fauci previously warned that the U.S. would have cases well into the fall.
Trump, meanwhile, has been largely silent on the continued spike in cases, instead focusing on vandalized statues and his own ego. As more than 35,000 new cases and more than 300 new deaths were reported Tuesday in the U.S., the president was busy tweeting about himself.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misstated the number of new infections and deaths reported on Tuesday.
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