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Fauci: US could see 'well over 300,000' COVID-19 deaths

Fauci: US could see 'well over 300,000' COVID-19 deaths
© Washington Examiner/Pool

Anthony FauciAnthony FauciFlorida hackers change highway sign to read 'Arrest Fauci' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - GOP torpedoes election bill; infrastructure talks hit snag White House admits July 4 vaccine marker will be missed MORE, the nation’s top infectious disease doctor, warned Monday that COVID-19 deaths could easily top 300,000 if the trajectory of the pandemic does not change.

The number of coronavirus cases, deaths and hospitalizations have been rising for weeks with no signs of slowing as the U.S. deals with another wave of the pandemic. 

“We're now at over 250,000 deaths, a quarter of a million deaths. You could get well over 300,000 and close to even more than that if we don't turn things around,” Fauci said during a livestreamed Washington Post event. 

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He stressed that reaching that number is not inevitable if people practice public health measures, such as mask-wearing and social distancing.

“I don't want this to be a doomsday statement. It is within our power to not let those numbers happen,” he said.

“The fact is, you don't have to accept those numbers as being inevitable.”

Fauci’s comments come ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, when millions of people are expected to travel and gather with friends and family outside of their households, despite advice from public health experts. 

The U.S. is averaging about 170,000 new COVID-19 cases per day, a 54 percent increase from the average two weeks ago. 

Gatherings could accelerate the pandemic, experts warn. 

“You might want to reconsider travel plans, and certainly try as best as you can to keep congregate meetings indoors — as innocent and wonderful as they sound — to a minimal number of people, preferably just members of a household,” Fauci said. 

“I know this is a difficult thing to do, but we're in a very difficult situation, so it’s better to be careful now and look forward to many, many more in the future, then either endangering yourself or a vulnerable member of your family or friends.”