Washington, Jun 30 (efe-epa).- The top US government epidemiologist, Dr. Anthony Fauci, on Tuesday warned that the number of newly detected daily coronavirus cases in the country could jump quickly from 40,000 to 100,000, a trend about which he said he is “quite concerned.”
“We’ve really got to do something about that and we need to deal with it quickly,” Fauci told the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. “It could get very bad.”
The top infectious disease expert at the National Institutes of Health told lawmakers that the surge in new cases has occurred both because some areas have reopened too quickly and because people have not been following proper precautionary guidelines.
“We are now having 40,000-plus new cases a day. I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around, and so I am very concerned,” he said.
“I can’t make an accurate prediction, but it’s going to be very disturbing,” Fauci said, responding to a question from Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. “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 testified before the Senate committee to explain what the US must do to deal with the ongoing resurgence in Covid-19 cases that has forced several states to backpedal on their economic reopening plans.
He once again called on all Americans to use face coverings, follow social distancing measures and to stop gathering in enclosed places, such as bars.
Also appearing before the committee for the second round of congressional testimony in two weeks were Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration; and Brett Giroir, assistant secretary of the Health and Human Services Department.
At the start of the pandemic, the virus hit several eastern states very hard – including New York, which was registering 10,000 cases per day – but, in recent weeks, those states have managed to halt the spread of the virus there with social distancing and quarantine measures.
Given that situation, several states in the South and West, which had barely felt any impact from the pandemic, are now experiencing high infection rates. Four of the states that have been most heavily affected are Texas, Florida, California and Arizona.
On Tuesday, Arizona announced that it registered 4,600 new cases, a new daily record, while California has tallied a total of 220,000 cases, especially in Los Angeles County, where authorities have ordered the beaches closed this July 4 weekend.
In the US, more than 126,300 people have died and 2.6 million have been infected with the virus, according to the recent independent tally being kept by The Johns Hopkins University.