As the number of COVID-19 cases surges across several US states, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Washington's foremost expert on infectious diseases, said that the country is still going through the first wave of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic.
Explaining that the current wave of the disease is not a new or consequent wave but rather a part of the initial wave, Fauci—whom President Donald Trump has continuously attacked over the months—said in an interview, "I look at it more as an elongated and an exacerbation of the original first wave."
Weather to Make Situation Worse
Dr.Fauci's statement comes at a time when the number of new cases reported across the country is in the ballpark of 80,000-90,000 a day. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 489,000 new cases and around 5,700 deaths have been reported in the last seven days, with over 80,000 cases reported on a daily basis over the weekend.
While the cases surged to nearly 70,000 cases a day as economic activities re-commenced and stagnated at 30,000-40,000 for several weeks, the approaching winter will only make it worst, he pointed out. "We started to see a peak that brought us up to around 70,000 per day," Dr. Fauci told Yahoo Finance on Monday.
"Now as we're getting into the cold weather, we came back up again to the worst that we've ever had, which was over 80,000 per day," added the immunologist, who has headed the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984.
Not A Positive Outlook for Near Future
The 79-year-old physician noted that while the cases in the worst-affected areas such as the metropolitan areas of New York did show a decline over the months, it remained at a baseline of around 20,000 cases a day; a far cry from the 10,000 a day that he felt was a low enough one. "We never really cleared and got down to a very low baseline," stressed Dr. Fauci.
He also pointed out that as the country began reopening economic activities, the fashion in which the states did so were varied. Some failed to strictly adhere to the recommended safety guidelines, especially southern states such as Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, and Texas, among others. Interestingly, all California, Texas and Florida are the worst-affected states.
"We have never really had waves in the sense of an up and down to a good baseline. It's been wavering up and down. And right now we are the highest baseline we have ever been, which is really quite precarious," he said. He averred that semantically speaking, even if the cases were part of smaller waves or one big wave, the outlook was not a positive one. "No matter how it was looked at, it's not a good news,' he stressed.