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A M Reid
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press
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The United States now has the most confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world, with more than 120,000. The death toll has also doubled in two days, reaching 2,000 Saturday evening.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, appeared on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday morning and emphasized the “very difficult problem” the United States is now facing.
“We have areas of the country such as the New York area. We’ll be seeing places like Detroit and other cities start to get into trouble, where the curve did what exactly I said on this show and other shows some time ago, it putters along a while and then it goes way up. When it does that, you’re really in full mitigation, it’s very difficult to do containment,” Dr. Fauci said.
Previously, Dr. Fauci has stressed the importance of flattening the curve – to slow the speed of infection rate so cases are staggered over a longer period instead of a sudden surge. Doing so would mean that case numbers are always at a manageable level, which is particularly important for hospitals.
Dr. Fauci then went on to call for stronger mitigation efforts in hot zone areas such as New York, and not to neglect “other areas of the country where it looks like there are just relatively few infections, because we have a window of opportunity there…to get out there and test areas.”
“If we do testing, identification, isolation, getting people out of circulation who are infected, and contact tracing, we might be able to prevent those areas from getting to that stage where we would have to do mitigation, which is much more difficult and much more frustrating than trying to contain,” Dr. Fauci explained.
State of the Union host Jake Tapper also asked Dr. Fauci how many COVID-19 cases did he think “the U.S. will reach?”
“You know, Jake, to be honest with you, we don’t have any firm idea,” Dr. Fauci remarked. “There are things called models. When someone creates a model, they put in various assumptions. And the model is only as good or as accurate as your assumptions. Whenever the models come in, they give a worst case scenario and a best case scenario. Generally the reality is somewhere in the middle. I’ve never seen a model of the diseases that I’ve dealt with where the worst case scenario actually came out.”
He then offered his prediction, estimating around “millions of cases” and between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths. However, he made it clear it was only a prediction and he did not “want to be held to that,” noting “when it’s such a moving target…you can so easily be wrong and mislead people.”
“What we do know, Jake, is that we’ve got a serious problem in New York. We have a serious problem in New Orleans. And we’re going to be developing serious problems in other areas. So people like to model it. Let’s just look at the data of what we have and not worry about these worst case and best case scenarios.”
On Saturday, White House coronavirus task force member, Dr. Deborah Birx, declared that “No state, no metro area will be spared” from the pandemic.
Similar to Dr. Fauci, she asserted that all states and metro areas need to be taking measures to help delay and prevent the virus’s spread.
“The sooner we react, and the sooner the states and the metro areas react and ensure that they put in full mitigation, at the same time understanding exactly what their hospitals need, then we’ll be able to move forward together and protect the most Americans,” Dr. Birx said on NBC’s Meet the Press.
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