Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the US’ leading medical professionals on the novel coronavirus, recently urged the American public against declaring a victory against COVID-19 because the deadly disease remains a threat to the nation.
In a Tuesday interview with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Fauci highlighted that while the daily new case counts have bounced between 45,000 and 60,000, those figures are “still at a level that are really quite risky.”
Latest figures released by Johns Hopkins University state the US reported nearly 57,000 new COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday, with the related death toll continuing to maintain somewhat of a rise. An increase in COVID-19 cases have been reported in New York, Alabama, Texas, Michigan and North Carolina.
Similarly, while hospitalizations have been on the decline since the beginning of the year, an estimated 40,212 individuals remain hospitalized, according to the COVID Tracking Project, which also noted that over 8,100 individuals are currently registered in intensive care units.
At present, nearly 3,000 Americans have been placed on ventilators.
Touching on the decrease from the “extraordinarily high” case numbers reported during the winter months, Fauci told show host Mirka Brzezinski that current figures are “much better than the few hundred thousand per day, but it's still at an unacceptably high level.”
“We've really got to be careful that we don't claim victory and pull back on all the public health measures that we know work in keeping the lid on these surging of infections,” he said, referring to masking and social distancing measures promoted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Fauci underscored the US will continue “going in the right direction” so long as officials carry on with enforcing preventative COVID-19 measures and successfully organize the rollout of approved vaccines. The US has only given clearance to three vaccines, those produced by companies Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson.
However, Fauci, who also serves as the director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned if the US declared a “victory” preemptively, “we can risk a surge.” He explained that a similar situation has since unfolded across Europe, where leaders lax measures and then “all of a sudden [COVID-19] started to surge again.”
“We want to make sure that does not happen here in the United States,” Fauci doubled down.
The Tuesday remarks largely echoed previous statements made by Fauci that emphasized the US still has a long way to go before being able to declare the end of COVID-19. Speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press” over the weekend, Fauci reiterated to viewers that “we are not in the end zone yet” when it comes to the pandemic.
The latest comments from Fauci came as several US states have lifted their COVID-19 restrictions on social gatherings and limits on the amount of individuals allowed inside businesses, particularly restaurants. States that have eased their restrictions include Texas, Maryland, Mississippi, Connecticut and Arizona, among others across the nation.