Top disease expert Fauci warns US in a ‘bad place’ as coronavirus cases surge

Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, during a House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing in Washington, Sept 23, 2020. (AFP)

The United States is “not in a good place” when it comes to the spread of the coronavirus pandemic and politicizing the issue must stop, one of the nation’s top disease experts said Wednesday.

“Look at the data. It speaks for itself. We’re in a very difficult situation,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said in a webinar with the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

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Fauci suggested issuing a nationwide mandate requiring the use of face masks.

“Let’s put aside these extraordinary excuses for not doing it … We have 225,000 deaths, and the modeling tells us we’re going to get 100,000 or more as we get into the winter. That is something that’s just unacceptable,” Fauci said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Wednesday 72,183 new cases and said that the number of deaths had risen by 901 to 225,985.

Fauci, who has often butted heads with US President Donald Trump over the pandemic, lamented the inability for the United States to get “down to a low baseline after we had the big initial surge.”

At best, the US was able to bring new cases down to 20,000 per day, he said. And as states tried to reopen their devastated economies, this number surged back to around 70,000 per day before coming back down to approximately 40,000 new cases a day.

Last weekend, there around 83,000 new cases in the US.

“That’s a bad position to be in,” he said. “As we continue into the cool months of the Fall and, soon, the winter, we’re starting to see something going in the wrong direction.”

While the issue of wearing face masks has become a point of political contention between Republicans and Democrats, Fauci said, “We gotta get away from that.”

“We don’t want to shut down completely. But if you don’t want to shut down, at least do the fundamental, basic things … We can’t have this very inconsistent wearing [of masks],” he said.

Asked how those opposed to wearing face masks could be convinced, Fauci responded: “We get there by looking at the consequences when we don’t wear masks.”

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- With Reuters

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Last Update: Thursday, 29 October 2020 KSA 03:03 - GMT 00:03
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