Fauci: US ‘going in wrong direction’ in coronavirus outbreak

June 30, 2020
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies before a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 30, 2020. (Kevin Dietsch/Pool via AP)

The U.S. is “going in the wrong direction” with the coronavirus surging badly enough that Dr. Anthony Fauci told senators Tuesday some regions are putting the entire country at risk — just as schools and colleges are wrestling with how to safely reopen.

With about 40,000 new cases being reported a day, Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, said he “would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around.”

“I am very concerned,” he told a hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee.

Infections are rising rapidly mostly in parts of the West and South, and Fauci and other public health experts said Americans everywhere will have to start following key recommendations if they want to get back to more normal activities like going to school.

“We’ve got to get the message out that we are all in this together,” by wearing masks in public and keeping out of crowds, said Fauci, infectious disease chief at the National Institutes of Health.

Connect the dots, he told senators: When and how school buildings can reopen will vary depending on how widely the coronavirus is spreading locally.

“I feel very strongly we need to do whatever we can to get the children back to school,” he said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plans more guidelines for local school systems, Director Robert Redfield said.

But in recommendations for colleges released Tuesday, the agency said it won’t recommend entry testing for all returning students, faculty and staff. It’s not clear if that kind of broad-stroke testing would reduce spread of the coronavirus, CDC concluded. Instead, it urged colleges to focus on containing outbreaks and exposures as students return.

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