Dr. Fauci Says This Is What's Most "Disturbing" About COVID Numbers Now

The numbers don't lie: these testing upticks spell trouble.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, our nation's leading infectious disease expert, is probably pretty hard to faze at this point. He's been at the helm of the coronavirus crisis since it first reached our shores, and he's seen it from every angle, from the hospital frontlines to the White House briefing room. But even Fauci is feeling unnerved by the state of the pandemic right now, despite claims from president Donald Trump that the tides are turning on COVID-19. Joining Jim Acosta on CNN's The Situation Room, Fauci shared what he finds most "disturbing" about the current state of the pandemic: specifically, how many different states are currently seeing an uptick in new cases.

As Fauci pointed out, the Dakotas, Montana, Michigan, Minnesota and others have all seen a surge in percent positive testing over recent weeks. Responding to a comment made by president Trump that we've "turned a corner" with coronavirus numbers, Fauci simply said, "I'm not sure what he means."

"These are indeed new cases. And the reason we know they're new cases [is] because, when you have the increase in cases, it's invariably followed by an increase in hospitalization and ultimately by an increase in deaths," Fauci explained. "That's the real bottom line. The critical issue is the percent positives of the tests that you do. And we're starting to see an uptick in that in certain areas that's disturbing. And that's why we call out to the governors and the leaders of those states to please pay attention to that, because that can be a predictor of surges that we really are trying to avoid."

But he didn't stop there. Fauci explained that he also finds "disturbing" the total number of deaths we've seen in the U.S. so far: currently, our nation is approaching 200,000 COVID deaths, and we're projected to reach a total of 410,000 by January. "It's obviously disturbing, Jim, particularly as I've said to you and others on this show, multiple times: we've got to get a baseline back down to a much lower level," said Fauci.

Fauci concluded with a simple call to action: "that we abide by the public health mandates and rules that we talk about all the time"—especially over Labor Day weekend, which he expects will cause further outbreaks. If you won't do it for public health, and you won't do it for yourself, at least do it for Fauci. And for more sage health advice, check out Dr. Fauci Just Issued This Warning for Labor Day Weekend.

Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more