The United States may soon record as many as 100,000 new cases of Covid-19 a day if the current trajectory of the outbreak is not changed, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci, warned on Tuesday.

The number of new cases is currently hovering around 40,000 per day.

Fauci’s remarks, made during an appearance before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, came as the number of new cases in some Southern and Southwestern states has soared.

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Some states that had moved to reopen businesses and activities quickly in response to frustration with lockdowns are finding themselves forced to dial back on some moves. California has closed bars in some counties, for instance, and New Jersey announced this week that it would not reopen indoor dining as planned.

“Clearly we are not in total control right now,” Fauci told the committee, warning that far worse conditions are ahead without new efforts to tamp down spread.

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“It is going to be very disturbing, I will guarantee you that,” he said.

“What was thought to be unimaginable turns out to be the reality we’re facing right now,” Fauci said, adding that “outbreaks happen, and you have to deal with them in a very aggressive, proactive way.”

Fewer than 20 countries have recorded more than 100,000 cases in total. Canada, for instance, has confirmed about 106,000 Covid-19 cases since the outbreak began.

Public health and infectious diseases experts, who have been gravely concerned about the way the U.S. response has unfolded, concurred with Fauci’s assessment.

“It’s unfortunately just a simple consequence of math plus a lack of action,” said Marm Kilpatrick, an infectious diseases dynamics researcher at the University of California, Santa Cruz. “On the one hand it comes across as ‘Oh my God, 100,000 cases per day!’ But then if you actually look at the current case counts and trends, how would you not get that?”

A daily count of 100,000 new cases a day could occur within about three to six weeks, warned Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Diseases Research and Policy.

States with rapidly rising case numbers — Texas for instance — are struggling to care for patients; if the numbers rise to the level Fauci is predicting, hospitals be overwhelmed, Osterholm warned.

“We have to understand if we have 100,000 cases a day, we will have a crisis in intensive care units around the country,” he said, warning that many hospitals still don’t have adequate supplies of protective equipment, and more health workers will die if the outbreak spirals further out of control.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 88,000 health workers in the U.S. have been infected with Covid-19 and 481 have died.

Osterholm said the U.S. needs to come to a consensus about how to control Covid-19. That’s going to take national leadership, he said.

“This country has to come to grips with: What is it that we’re willing to accept?” Osterholm said. “And I think if we leave it up to every governor, I think that is short-sighted. We need a national consensus of what are we trying to do. And then each state can … tailor it to what fits them. But right now, we don’t have a national consensus.”

He advocates finding a middle ground between total shutdown — for which there is waning support in the country — and the rapid reopening that some states have embraced. “It’s got to be something in the middle.”

The country needs to think about what restrictions it can live with as a means of suppressing transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and about how to compensate businesses that are may be forced to stay shut as a consequence, Osterholm said, pointing to bars as an example of a type of business that may need to remain closed while transmission rates are high.

  • The article stated that out of 88,000 health care workers, about 481 died. That gives you a death rate of .5 %. Most if not all of them had no underlying health problems.

    • William Hinchliffe – sorry, but why did you say most of the health workers had no health problems?

  • Richard, I have been doing the same and I agree the information is completely on point. Please keep the fact-based information in these articles coming! I trust science and not opinions from those without expertise in this area.

  • Cases do not means hospitalisation. Death rate is a more important data that the fear-mongers conveniently ignore because it does not tally with the narrative.

    • How does death rate not “tally with the narrative?” We’ve already had twice as many deaths as a bad flu season, and we’re nowhere near the end.

    • I am not taking sides in this but I believe what is meant is the death rate is not as high as predicted, and therefore the virus is not going to do as much harm as the worst predictions.
      It seems to me the death rate is yet to be determined, but is probably going to be much lower than some thought, if the new estimate by CDC that about 10 times as many people were not diagnosed as previously thought, and those people almost all have immunity from the virus, are both true.

    • So, the current numbers show about a 5% case fatality rate in the US. A 10-1 ratio of missed cases would suggest a 0.5% to 1% case fatality rate, which would put it in line with a lot of early statements. Still at least five to ten times worse than seasonal flu, and suggests that we’ve completely failed at testing and contact tracing.

    • Brandon – while we have not tested or traced contacts very much – and, as far as I can tell, that applies to the entire country – every state – and continues, from the news reports I read, until today – I am not sure you can call it failure.
      I suspect the public health people who were in authority were, ironically, NOT the best prepared to deal with a major epidemic. Or maybe I should say a HUGE epidemic, and one that originated in China particularly, but that is another subject.
      I think, from habit essentially, the fact we test and contact trace for VD and TB, the public health people – and, Dr. Fauci is a brave man trying to do his best, and great risk to himself, as he is 80, and if he gets Wuhan he is in great peril, BUT – the public health people assumed testing and contact tracing were effective ways to deal with this epidemic.
      I think this was a mistaken assumption in the United States, where you get too much uninformed resistance to wearing face masks, for example – and for a disease which is spread so easily, – and where so many are asymptomatic spreaders.
      People in Asia, the advanced nations of Asia, to be blunt, are too smart to not wear masks – not in the US. So that means, you find someone who is positive, from testing – and then try to trace their contacts – and you get some – but you miss people that were in the line at the coffee shop with – or the subway, probably – and so on and so on.
      In Asia, that same sick person would not infect someone in the coffee shop, because that other person would be wearing a mask – and probably DOING IT RIGHT, – and so, only close contacts would be likely to get infected – people you COULD trace – the family, co-workers, and so on.
      I think contact tracing was doomed to failure, and the fact NOWHERE in the US is reported to have been effective with it is evidence for that, in my view. If there is a credible news report of a city that made it work in the future- good for them .
      Another failure which of course made the contact tracing impossible was the lack of tests – of course hindsight is 20/20, but from this vantage point we can see, an all hands on deck call for any testing anyone could come up with, if it would be scaleable especially, should have been the approach – CDC and FDA should have begged for tests and gone to approval of everything reasonable. I do not know what failed there, but it seems to be mostly within the executive branch, but, this seems like a failure of long-standing bureaucracy, which is again back to the authorities put in place to deal with this –
      but again, a respiratory virus which often spread asumptomatically is so different from VD or TB – I forgot before – you get VD or TB and you may spread it for years – not Wuhan, as far as we know- you get sick for two weeks and then clear the virus in another week or so – in almost all cases- totally different than public health people are used to.

  • We are Americans no one can tell us what to do we have rights and because we have all of these stupid people claiming we are trampling on there rights as soon as all the dump ignorant people are dead will we see the sun come out tomorrow just rember dead people have no rights and this virus kills all colors and all nations so what makes you think it won’t make it to you young and dumb try explaining to Grandpa why Grandma is dead because you didn’t where a mask (I Have Rights)

  • I call Bull Shit. Why has he not been arrested!!! He is one of the problems!!!!

  • In my area, Dr. Fauci’s warnings about a horrible case spike flies directly into the face the regional objective scientific data. Testing is free and available to anyone, yet the positive case rate has dropped 80%. There have been 2 Covid related deaths reported in the last 3 weeks. And yet, the government has now cancelled events months into the future, based on the predicted but non-existent rise in Covid 19 numbers. Please stop fear mongering.

    • Deaths stats lag behind a couple weeks at least. Positive test rates are 33 percent in Arizona. This shits real and you should be afraid for your fellow citizen.

  • Having researched Covid19 as a world citizen since it started to spread in January.
    Statnews for me is on point and condenses information about Covid19 from many excellent sources.
    Keep up the excellent on point articles!

  • “And about how to compensate businesses that are may be forced to stay shut as a consequence” Very interesting wording, I would have gone with either “are” or “maybe” but not both. What’s going on with writers and articles lately, the past few years I’m finding typos in nearly every one I read and I have an 8th grade educating. Scary stuff I’ll tell you.

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