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Fauci: US coronavirus outbreak 'likely will get worse' in coming weeks

Fauci: US coronavirus outbreak 'likely will get worse' in coming weeks
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White House coronavirus task force member Anthony FauciAnthony FauciOvernight Health Care: Biden unveils virus plan and urges patience | Fauci says it's 'liberating' working under Biden | House to move quickly on COVID-19 relief Fauci: We are not 'starting from scratch' on vaccine distribution Fauci says it's 'liberating' working under Biden MORE warned on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that the COVID-19 outbreak will likely worsen in the weeks ahead as hospitals around the country report shortages of ICU beds for patients.

Fauci told NBC's Chuck ToddCharles (Chuck) David ToddOfficials brace for second Trump impeachment trial House GOP lawmaker: Trump 'put all of our lives at risk' DC mayor says she's concerned about threats to residential neighborhoods MORE that the wave of coronavirus infections resulting from the Christmas holiday had yet to be felt in full, and added that the next one to two weeks would likely see a rise in both hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19.

"It could and likely will get worse in the next couple of weeks, or at least maintain this very terribly high level of infections and deaths that we're seeing. And the reason is that, you know, we're in that situation that we predicted a few weeks ago as you get into the holiday season and people have done a considerable amount of traveling," Fauci said, while also pointing to the cold weather driving many indoors.

"It's terrible. It's unfortunate," he continued, adding: "My concern is that it could get worse over the next couple of weeks as we see the lag that happens when an event occurs like the Christmas and New Year's holiday. You usually have a couple of week lag before you see an additional uptick of cases, which is always followed by hospitalizations and deaths."

His warning comes just days after he told CNN that the surge in COVID-19 cases has largely “gotten out of control in many respects,” even as rollout of the vaccine continues among first responders.

Hospitalizations resulting from the virus hit a record high last week, with more than 121,000 in total hospitalized and roughly 22,600 in intensive care.

Medical experts around the country have warned that the influx of patients is leading to some hospitals being forced to ration care, with shortages of both hospital beds and staff being reported.