WASHINGTON - Dr. Anthony Fauci delivered a dire warning regarding the United States’ handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying that he “would not be surprised” if the country saw up to 100,000 new coronavirus cases daily "if this does not turn around."
“I’m very concerned,” Fauci said during a Congressional testimony on Tuesday, where he was joined by other health leaders, including CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield and FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn.
“I can’t make an accurate prediction, but it’s going to be very disturbing, I will guarantee you that. 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,” Fauci said.
“We can’t just focus on areas that are having the surge, it puts the entire country at risk,” he noted.
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, noted in his testimony that the United States is seeing around 40,000 new COVID-19 cases per day.
As of June 30, there were more than 2.6 million confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and over 126,000 deaths.
The rise in COVID-19 cases has prompted many state leaders to reinforce lockdown and social distancing measures that had been previously lifted. California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered that bars close down in several parts of the state Monday due to rising COVID-19 infections.
Florida, one of the earliest states to reopen, is experiencing a drastic surge in new COVID-19 cases, reporting close to 10,000 new infections on June 25 alone.
Last week, state leaders in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut enacted a 14-day quarantine for visitors from states reported to have high COVID-19 case numbers. The European Union also barred U.S. travelers from visiting its member countries due to the United States’ dire COVID-19 situation.
In a recent interview, Fauci also warned that even if a widespread coronavirus vaccine was available in late 2020 or early 2021, its efficacy in achieving herd immunity would be questionable due to anti-vaxxers and other groups refusing to take it.
This week also marks six months since the World Health Organization was first notified of the coronavirus pandemic, and officials with the organization have given a stark warning that COVID-19 is “not even close to being over.”
WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Monday during a media briefing that people should reflect on the progress made and lessons learned in the crisis. But Ghebreyesus also warned that “the worst is yet to come” and urged countries to “recommit ourselves to doing everything we can to save lives.”