Dr. Anthony Fauci warned that daily coronavirus cases in the United States need to drop significantly by the fall.
The U.S. is currently experiencing a seven-day average of about 61,800 cases per day, a number that Fauci, who leads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said needs to drop to below 10,000 per day by September.
“If we don’t get them down, then we’re going to have a really bad situation in the fall,” Fauci said during a Monday interview with the Journal of the American Medical Association, according to NBC News.
He offered the warning because of two factors: the start of flu season and the cooler weather that will invariably drive people inside and contribute to closer contact and thus more spread of the respiratory illness.
The nation’s leading expert on infectious diseases said that a “real and potential pattern” has emerged that starts with an increase in the test positivity rate in a given area, followed by surging numbers of infections. He added that the same “insidious increase in percent positive” that was seen in places such as Florida and the West Coast recently is beginning to appear in other states.
In regard to those new areas of concern, Fauci said, “You may need to pause, you may need to drop back a little bit.”
“I don’t think you necessarily have to revert to going all the way back to closing,” he noted.
“The virus, if left to its own devices, is going to keep resurging,” Fauci said, highlighting that everyone should be practicing social distancing and wearing face coverings to cut down on the spread of the virus before flu season arrives.
The U.S. has experienced some 4.7 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 155,000 deaths since the pandemic first arrived in North America.