US top health expert Fauci warns of 100,000 new COVID-19 cases per day

WION Web Team Washington, United States Jul 01, 2020, 06.33 AM(IST)

Anthony Fauci Photograph:( AFP )

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Fauci said the daily increase in new cases nationwide, currently around 40,000, could reach 100,000 unless a full nationwide effort was undertaken to tamp down the resurgent virus.

New US coronavirus cases could more than double to 100,000 per day if the current surge spirals further out of control, the government's top infectious disease expert warned on Tuesday, although he was "cautiously optimistic" a vaccine would be available early next year.

California, Texas and Arizona have emerged as new epicenters of the pandemic, each reporting record increases in COVID-19 cases, adding to pressure on scores of potential vaccines being rushed into trials.

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"Clearly we are not in total control right now," Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told a US Senate committee. "I am very concerned because it could get very bad."

Fauci said the daily increase in new cases nationwide, currently around 40,000, could reach 100,000 unless a full nationwide effort was undertaken to tamp down the resurgent virus.

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"We can't just focus on those areas that are having the surge. It puts the entire country at risk," he said.

Fauci said there was no guarantee of having vaccine to prevent infection soon, but that early data had left scientists "cautiously optimistic" for 2021. "Hopefully there will be doses available by the beginning of next year," he said.

COVID-19 cases more than doubled in June in at least 10 states, including Texas and Florida, a Reuters tally showed. In parts of Texas and Arizona, hospital intensive care beds for COVID-19 patients are in short supply.

More than 126,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 and millions have lost their jobs, as states and major cities ordered residents to stay home and businesses closed. The economy contracted sharply in the first quarter and is expected to crater in the second.