The fall and winter months are here, and just as Dr. Anthony Fauci and other health experts predicted, the number of infections around the country is on the rise. During the Johns Hopkins University Health Policy Forum on Friday, the nation's leading infectious disease doctor revealed to Bloomberg School of Public Health Dean Ellen MacKenzie that we are on the verge of a major surge. Read on, and don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
Why Dr. Fauci Warns Things Are About to Get Worse
Over the summer, Dr. Fauci urged people to follow his fundamentals—mask wearing, social distancing, staying outdoors instead of indoors, avoiding crowds, and practicing hand hygiene—in hopes of keeping the number of infections at a minimum—around 10,000 per day—before the weather shift. However, his hopes were crushed, and the numbers went the opposite way instead.
"We have a baseline now, you know, the baseline fluctuated," he said "It never went down to the level that I would have hoped." In fact, on the very day his interview was broadcast, the U.S. recorded 70,000 new cases in a day for the first time in July.
Fauci explains that after the initial surge of the virus in the spring, "predominantly by the Northeast and the majority in some respects of the infections and the hospitalizations were driven by New York," those areas experienced a decline of cases, while other regions of the country experienced a spike.
"When it came back down in New York, other States and regions of the country went up," he explained. "The baseline never got down to a few thousand, less than 10,000 per day," he continued.
"It kind of got stuck at 20,000. Then when we try to open up the economy, particularly in some of the Southern States, like Florida, Georgia, Texas, Southern California, Arizona, it wasn't done uniformly. And we started to see a surge that came up to about 70,000 a day," he said.
While it has come down a bit, "it's stuck around 40 to 50,000," he pointed out. "You can't enter into the cool months of the fall and the cold months of the winter with a high community infection baseline.
He then pointed out that according to the heat map, over 30 states are "going in the wrong direction" in terms of test positivity—which is an indicator of future infections, hospitalizations, and deaths.
And, unfortunately, as the temperature drops in much of the country, "we're going to start doing a lot of things, more indoors rather than outdoors," he pointed out. "And that's when you have to be particularly careful about the spread of a respiratory borne disease."
There is Still Hope—if We "Apply Good Public Health Measures"
However, the situation isn't hopeless.
"It's still not too late to vigorously apply good public health measures," he said. Instead of shutting down the country again, he suggests using public health measures "in a prudent, careful way to help us to reopen the country, to reopen the economy, to get jobs back."
"Public health measures need to be the vehicle and the gateway to opening the economy, not the obstacle to opening the economy," he concluded. So follow prudent health measures, and also don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.