Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
(Photo by Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)
The U.S. is reporting an “extremely high and quite unacceptable” daily number of Covid-19 cases ahead of the winter season when people will be spending more time indoors and threatening to spread the virus even more, White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said.
The U.S. reported a record-breaking 88,521 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, continuing its upward climb on what’s now the pandemic’s third peak. Although some have referred to the latest surge in cases as a “third wave,” Fauci said the country is still grappling with its original wave of coronavirus infections.
As the outbreak that originally ripped through New York and the Northeast began to decline in the spring, America’s Sun Belt states began reporting swelling outbreaks and infections rose again over the summer, Fauci told SiriusXM’s “Doctor Radio Reports” in an interview that aired on Friday. The country was never able to report below 20,000 daily Covid-19 cases on average like other parts of the globe, Fauci said.
“We never got out of the real wave. We kind of went up and down within a wave,” Fauci said. “When I hear people talk about second and third waves, it really is the original wave that just resurges up, comes down a little, and resurges up again.”
Unlike previous outbreaks the nation has faced so far, the most recent surge appears to be spreading in nearly every corner of the country. Covid-19 cases were growing by 5% or more in 45 states over the week as of Thursday, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
The positivity rate, or the percentage of tests that are positive, is increasing in over 30 states, and roughly 13 states are in the “red zone,” which means they have a positivity rate above 10%, Fauci said. A high positivity rate is a sign that “there’s more infection out there that we’re not turning over,” Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former Food and Drug Administration commissioner, told CNBC on Friday.
“That’s something that you wish you did not have as you enter into the colder months because out of necessity, a lot more things are going to have to be done indoors because of the weather,” Fauci said.
On Friday, the U.S. surpassed 9 million total Covid-19 cases reported since the beginning of the pandemic, adding an additional 1 million cases since mid-October alone, according to Hopkins.
“We’re in a precarious position over the next several weeks to months,” Fauci said, calling on people to continue wearing face masks, social distance and spend time outdoors over indoors as much as possible.