Top government infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci warned on Tuesday that daily coronavirus infections could double if people do not abide by social distancing protocols.
“We’re going to continue to be in a lot of trouble. And there’s going to be a lot of hurt if that does not stop and get our act together,” Fauci said. “We are now having 40-plus thousand new cases a day, and I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 [cases] a day.”
In Tuesday’s Senate health committee hearing, Fauci said that people have ignored social distancing guidelines that members of the Trump administration’s coronavirus response team have put out, which will exacerbate the current surges in new coronavirus cases across the Sun Belt and Western states.
“Just look at some of the film clips that you’ve seen of people congregating, often without masks, of being in crowds, and jumping over, avoiding, and not paying attention to the guidelines that we very carefully put out,” Fauci said.
He added, “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. We can’t just focus on those areas that are having a surge. It puts the entire country at risk.”
The models used by the White House coronavirus task force to predict the total number of coronavirus cases and fatalities during the pandemic has changed several times to account for factors that might lead to more people getting sick and possibly dying from this disease.
Fauci said Tuesday that forecasts “often change depending upon what your response is” to the pandemic. When states reopen, Fauci said, states must take government guidance, such as recommendations that states wait until they record 14 consecutive days of deceases in daily cases, seriously.
“With regard to checkpoints, what we’ve seen in several states are different iterations of that, perhaps maybe in some, going too quickly and skipping over some of the checkpoints,” Fauci said.
Earlier in the hearing, Fauci told the senators that “more than 50%” of case surges are coming from Texas, Florida, California, and Arizona, all of which have paused their reopening plans to stave off further spikes in new cases and hospitalization rates.
The United States has confirmed more than 2.6 million cases and at least 129,500 deaths.