States affected by severe coronavirus outbreaks should “seriously consider closing,” says Dr Fauci

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, testifies at a hearing of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Work and Pensions (HELP) on Capitol Hill in Washington, United States, June 30, 2020.Kevin Dietsch | Reuters

States with rapidly developing coronavirus epidemics should seriously consider “shutting down” as the country did when the virus first hit the United States in March, health advisor said on Thursday. White House, Dr. Anthony Fauci.His comments come as the United States continues to push records for new daily reported cases, driven mainly by southern and western states, through the so-called Sun Belt.

“What we are seeing is exponential growth. It went from an average of around 20,000 to 40,000 and 50,000. That’s double. If you keep doubling, twice 50 is 100, “said Fauci on a Wall Street Journal podcast. “Any state that has a serious problem, this state should seriously consider closing. It is not for me to say it because each state is different. ”

Earlier this week, the United States reported a one-day record high of 60,021 confirmed cases. Arizona, California, Florida and Texas have accounted for almost half of all new cases in the United States in recent days.

The country reported an average of 52,444 new cases per day in the past seven days, up 20.3% from last week, according to a CNBC analysis of data collected by Johns Hopkins University. The seven-day average hit a record high every day in the past two weeks, according to CNBC analysis.

Despite a strong push in Florida, Republican Governor Ron DeSantis previously said the state would not order companies to close again. Although local authorities in particularly affected countries and cities can take matters into their own hands.

“We don’t go back, closing things. I don’t think that’s what really drives him, people who go into a business aren’t what drives him, “said DeSantis on June 30. “I think when you see the younger ones, I think a lot of them are more social interactions, so it’s natural. ”

The spike in cases across much of the United States has been brought on by some states that reopened too soon, said Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases. He added that people who did not practice public health advice, even if their state officials tried to encourage them, also contributed to the spread of the virus.

Florida, for its part, was among the first states to reopen, with DeSantis allowing most restaurants and stores to open with changes on May 4.

“Among the states, and there are admissions from the inside, some states have gone too fast, some states have kept to the schedule, but the inhabitants of the state have not listened and have simply warned the wind “, did he declare. “Some states get frustrated, because, to name a state, but some states certainly opened too soon and too quickly, so it was something that probably shouldn’t have happened that led to this . ”

Even though new cases have skyrocketed, the average age of an infected person has dropped in many states. This is important because younger, healthy people are less likely to become seriously ill or die from Covid-19. However, Fauci said that the more young people who were infected, the more they would transmit the virus to a vulnerable person who is older or has an underlying condition that puts them at increased risk of dying.

“To say that it is benign is not true, because we are already seeing an increase in hospitalizations in these states,” he said. “We find that the intensive care beds are now almost completely occupied, so this is not without consequence what is happening. It has an impact. ”

On Wednesday, the average of seven-day hospitalizations rose at least 5% in 25 states, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by the Covid Tracking Project, an independent volunteer organization launched by journalists from The Atlantic.

To contain the epidemic, Fauci urged Americans to follow public health recommendations and take the threat of the virus seriously. He added that American officials should better coordinate their messages to reach the American people more effectively.

“Obviously, you would like to see a consistent message throughout what people understand,” he said. “But for better or for worse, unfortunately, that is not exactly what is happening. ”

– CNBC’s Nate Rattner contributed to this report.

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