Story at a glance
- Dr. Anthony Fauci said widespread community transmission makes it difficult to effectively and efficiently contain the virus.
- Fauci said the total number of infections and deaths will be “dependent upon how we respond to it.”
- More than 1,000 cases have been reported in the U.S.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said the worst is yet to come with regards to the coronavirus outbreak in the United States.
“I can say we will see more cases and things will get worse than they are right now,” Fauci told the House Oversight and Reform Committee Wednesday during a hearing on the nation’s preparedness for the outbreak.
The top U.S. health official explained that this is due to “community spread,” and the difficulty in containing the virus. He said how much worse depends on containing local outbreaks within the U.S. and containing the flow of infected people coming from other countries.
Fauci’s comments come one day after he urged Americans to take the threat of coronavirus seriously and to change behaviors to slow its spread.
“We would like the country to realize that as a nation we can’t be doing the kinds of things we were doing a few months ago,” Fauci said during a White House press briefing Tuesday.
READ MORE OF OUR BREAKING NEWS ABOUT CORONAVIRUS
Local and state health officials looking to stop the spread in hard-hit areas, such as Washington state, are enacting bans on public gatherings, closing schools and urging citizens to avoid coming in close contact with others.
The coronavirus has now infected more than 1,000 people in the U.S., where it’s been found in nearly 40 states.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield told the congressional committee the virus has killed 31 people in the U.S. so far.
SEE MORE ABOUT THE CURRENT CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC