‘Very disturbing’: Fauci’s grim US warning
The US' top infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci has warned the US could see more than 100,000 new coronavirus infections per day if it does not manage to contain the current outbreak.
Speaking to Congress along with other health officials, Dr Fauci warned on Tuesday he "would not be surprised" to see the current 40,000 infections per day soar past the 100,000 mark.
The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told the US Senate that "clearly we are not in total control right now" of the pandemic and warned social distancing and mask wearing was essential.
"We're going to continue to be in a lot of trouble," he warned if people failed to follow this advice.
"It is going to be very disturbing, I will guarantee you that," he said.
The US has seen more than 40,000 cases per day in four out of the last five days leading to fears the country will be able to get a grip on the pandemic.
Dr Fauci said an "alarmingly large" number of Americans are "anti-science" and health experts have also expressed concern about President Trump's failure to wear a mask in public.
Already at least 16 states have been forced to pause or backtrack on reopening plans.
The rises in confirmed cases and hospitalisations have been most pronounced in Sun Belt states such as Florida, Texas and Arizona that defied advice from health experts to wait longer before easing restrictions.
"That's a recipe for disaster," Anthony Fauci said in an interview on Monday.
"Now we're seeing the consequences of community spread, which is even more difficult to contain than spread in a well-known physical location like a prison or nursing home or meat packing place," Fauci said.
The New York Times reported on Monday that 43 per cent of US deaths from COVID-19 were linked to nursing homes and long-term care facilities based on its own tracking.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said on Monday that indoor dining would no longer resume on Thursday in the state as planned and would be postponed indefinitely.
California authorities on Sunday ordered bars in Los Angeles and six other counties to close. Texas and Florida ordered the closure of all their bars on Friday.
Beaches in Florida's Broward County and Palm Beach County will not open on July 3-5, a blow to residents hoping to celebrate Independence Day there on Saturday.
Miami-Dade County had already announced beach closures for the holiday weekend. AMC, the largest US movie theatre chain, on Monday said it was pushing back the opening of its theatres to July 30 from July 15.
Arizona and Georgia were among the states reporting record new cases this week. Last week, a total of 15 US states reported records, according to a Reuters tally.
In June, 22 US states reported record increases in new cases, often multiple times, including Alaska, Arkansas, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon and Utah.
Face coverings have become a political issue, with some civil rights activists and supporters of US President Donald Trump arguing that such mandates are unconstitutional.
The city of Jacksonville, Florida, venue for part of the Republican nominating convention in August, said on Twitter that it would be requiring masks for all public locations starting later on Monday.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said on Monday that Trump "has no problem with masks and to do whatever your local jurisdiction requests".
The United States accounts for about a quarter of all reported coronavirus cases and related deaths worldwide, which surpassed 10 million and 500,000, respectively, at the weekend.
Originally published as 'Very disturbing': Fauci's grim US warning