As the country takes dramatic, unprecedented steps to combat the spread of the coronavirus, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci recommends that U.S. communities take “proportionate” actions to help reduce cases of COVID-19.
Speaking to MSNBC, Fauci acknowledged that while health agencies have made progress, more cases will emerge.
“With regards to the virus itself, the next few weeks for Americans, what you're going to see is an acceleration of cases,” he said, saying that “things are going to get worse before they get better.”
Fauci also commented, however, that more testing kits have been and will be distributed to hospitals and clinics across the country, which will help “blunt” the impact of a peak in COVID-19 infections.
As easier access to testing becomes available, Fauci noted that the current precautions states and cities have initiated, such as canceling sporting events, closing schools and workplaces, and declaring states of emergency, all should be done “proportionately.”
Reuters highlighted Fauci’s statement when discussing the best prevention methods Americans can undertake.
Regarding the shuttering of major firms and institutions, as well as quarantine efforts, Fauci said, “You need to do it proportionately. If you have a considerable amount or even the beginnings of community spread in your community, clearly you need to do very aggressive mitigation procedures.”
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) undertook more aggressive mitigation measures, declaring a one-mile “containment zone” in the city of New Rochelle, where there has been a concentrated outbreak of COVID-19. BuzzFeed reports that houses of worship, schools and other public facilities are closed and large gatherings are banned in a bid to prevent further community spread.
Regions that haven’t seen a sharp increase in coronavirus infections, however, do not need to take the same measures.
"The idea of someone in an area of the country that is not having community spread to all of a sudden now to really self quarantine, that’s a bit much,” Fauci told MSNBC reporters. Instead, separating yourself from “unnecessary” travel or interactions with large groups of people are appropriate measures.
However, the most vulnerable demographics, specifically the elderly and people with underlying conditions, such as diabetes and heart or lung disease, need to be “much more serious” about self-quarantining.
He further advised that if you feel sick or that you may have been exposed, stay at home, self-quarantine to the best of your ability, contact a health care provider or emergency room, and figure out a way to safely get tested.
Looking forward, Fauci notes that key partnerships between the federal government and the private sector will facilitate a major push in increasing testing capabilities across the country.
Johns Hopkins data confirms that there are currently 1,268 cases in the U.S., as well as 33 recorded deaths.