Fauci: US has 'unacceptably high' level of COVID-19 cases going into fall

Fauci: US has 'unacceptably high' level of COVID-19 cases going into fall
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Anthony FauciAnthony FauciOvernight Health Care: CDC reverses controversial testing guidance | Billions more could be needed for vaccine distribution | Study examines danger of in-flight COVID-19 transmission Trump claims enough COVID-19 vaccines will be ready for every American by April Gates says travel ban made COVID-19 worse in US MORE said Wednesday that the United States has an “unacceptably high” level of new cases heading into the fall, and pushed for people to exercise caution heading into the Labor Day weekend to prevent further surges. 

Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, was asked on MSNBC about what baseline level of new cases per day he would be comfortable with ahead of the fall, when many experts fear the virus will further surge and coincide with flu as the weather gets colder.

The U.S. has around 40,000 new cases per day currently. “We're right around 40,000 new cases, that's an unacceptably high baseline,” Fauci said. “We've got to get it down, I'd like to see it 10,000 or less, hopefully less.”

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The number of new cases per day has fallen somewhat from the even higher peak of around 70,000 per day in late July, but it is still very high. And in recent days the drop has stalled and started to plateau around 40,000.

There are still around 1,000 new deaths from the virus every day as well.

Fauci’s comments about the high levels of virus still circulating strike a more concerned tone than that of President TrumpDonald John TrumpObama calls on Senate not to fill Ginsburg's vacancy until after election Planned Parenthood: 'The fate of our rights' depends on Ginsburg replacement Progressive group to spend M in ad campaign on Supreme Court vacancy MORE who has tried to project optimism and downplay the scale of the virus.

Fauci warned that as the country approaches Labor Day, holiday weekends in the past have led to spikes in cases as people gather and let down their guard.

“So I really want to use this opportunity almost to have a plea to the people in this country to realize that we really still need to get our arms around this,” he said.

He urged people to wear masks, avoid crowds, stay six feet apart from others, wash their hands, and favor outdoor activity over indoor activity.

He said people can “have an enjoyable weekend” if they exercise those cautionary steps.

“You don’t need to lock yourself down, but don’t be careless about things,” he said.