Dr. Anthony Fauci says top U.S. college athletic programs and professional sports leagues are managing risks for COVID-19 infections far more professionally than the situation at the White House that led to President Donald Trump’s illness. (Oct. 6)
The nation’s top infectious disease expert said the United States faces a “difficult situation” with a rise in positive coronavirus tests through a wide swath of northern states as the weather cools.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the share of positive coronavirus tests is increasing in the Northwest, Midwest and other northern states.
The share of tests that detect the virus is a key indicator of whether the coronavirus is spreading or under control in a community. Public health officials want to see less than 3% of all tests return positive. An ideal rate is less than 1%, Fauci said Tuesday during a College of American Pathologists meeting.
“We’re starting to see a number of states well above that, which is often, and in fact invariably, highly predictive of a resurgence of cases,” Fauci said. A rise in the share of positive cases “we know leads to an increase in hospitalizations and then ultimately an increase in deaths.”
Data from the COVID Tracking Project shows 36 states have a higher rate of tests coming back positive than the previous week. Another 41 states have higher case counts in the past week compared to a week before, an analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows.
As the fall weather cools and people spend more time indoors, public health experts hoped “we had rather good control over infection dynamics in the country,” Fauci said. “As a matter of fact, unfortunately, that’s not the case.”
Fauci said the nation is averaging between 40,000 and 50,000 new cases every day. The United States has reported more than 7.8 million cases and 215,085 deaths.
A USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins data through late Monday shows 16 states set records for new cases in a week, while Kansas, North Dakota and South Dakota had a record number of deaths in a week.
Fauci said shutting down the nation again to slow the virus’ spread is something “we do not want to do.” and urged Americans to commit to public health recommendations to slow SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. People should wear masks, maintain a distance of at least six feet from others, avoid crowds and wash hands frequently.
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says a coronavirus vaccine could come earlier than expected. (Photo: AP)
The nation should know by the end of 2020 whether there is a safe and effective vaccine. With five vaccine candidates now in the late-stage clinical studies, Fauci said doses of any Food and Drug Administration-authorized vaccine could be shipped by the end of the year or early 2021, first to those who are most vulnerable.
And although the development has been speedy,