Fauci warns US Covid-19 crisis isn't over, says things have to be ‘really bad' for him to favor national lockdown
Despite an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in the US, Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) said that the situation would have to be extremely bad for him to advocate for another lockdown. “They’d have to get really, really bad,” he replied when questioned how bad would things have to get for him to advocate a national lockdown, during an interview on CBS' “60 Minutes".
“First of all, the country is fatigued with restrictions. So we wanna use public health measures not to get in the way of opening the economy, but to being a safe gateway to opening the economy. So instead of having an opposition, open up the economy, get jobs back, or shut down. No. Put ‘shut down’ away and say, ‘We’re gonna use public health measures to help us safely get to where we wanna go’,” the leading infectious disease expert emphasized.
Fauci, however, cautioned that when there are a million deaths and over 30 million infections globally, one cannot say that “we’re on the road to essentially getting out of this.” “So quite frankly, I don’t know where we are. It’s impossible to say,” he added.
The latest national ensemble forecast from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates an uncertain trend in new Covid-19 deaths reported over the next few weeks and predicts that 3,400 to 7,100 new deaths likely to be reported in the US during the week ending November 7. The national ensemble predicts that a total of 229,000 to 240,000 coronavirus deaths will be reported by this date. As of October 19, over 219,660 Americans have died in the pandemic and more than 8,151,970 cases have been reported from across the US.
Nationally, the overall percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing Covid-19, increased from 5.3% during week 40 (week ending October 3) to 5.4% during week 41, week ending October 10. The percentages of specimens testing positive increased slightly in those 0-4 years, 5-17 years, 50-64 years and 65 years and older while remaining stable in those 18-49 years.
“The national increase in percent positivity was driven by increases in regions 5 (Midwest), 6 (South Central), 7 (Central), and 10 (Pacific Northwest). The increase was reported among all age groups in regions 6, 7, and 10 and among those 5 years of age and older in region 5. The highest percentages of specimens testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 were seen in regions 4 (Southeast, 6.5%), 6 (South Central, 8.0%), 7 (Central, 10.1%), and 8 (Mountain, 7.0%),” explained the agency.
The overall cumulative Covid-19-associated hospitalization rate through the week ending October 10, 2020, was 188.2 per 100,000 population. The age-adjusted hospitalization rate for Hispanic or Latino persons was approximately 4.5 times that of non-Hispanic White persons. The age-adjusted hospitalization rates for both non-Hispanic Black persons and non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native persons were approximately 4.4 times those of non-Hispanic White persons.
Meanwhile, Fauci said during the interview that he is “absolutely not” surprised that President Donald Trump got infected with Covid-19 after seeing him surrounded by people not wearing face masks and flouting public health measures aimed at preventing coronavirus transmission. “I was worried that he (Trump) was going to get sick when I saw him in a completely precarious situation of crowded, no separation between people, and almost nobody wearing a mask. When I saw that on TV, I said, ‘Oh my goodness. Nothing good can come outta that, that’s gotta be a problem.’ And then, sure enough, it turned out to be a super-spreader event,” said Fauci. He also added said that Trump “sometimes equates wearing a mask with weakness” but it does not make sense to him why the president does so.
Fauci had previously stated the Rose Garden ceremony to see Trump officially nominate Judge Barrett to the Supreme Court was a super-spreader event. The ceremony featured people sitting close together in the Rose Garden, with many not wearing masks, as well as indoor activities. Many people have tested positive for coronavirus after attending the September 26 event.