Dr. Fauci Says These Are the COVID Numbers We Should See by the Fall

If we don't hit this benchmark, the coronavirus pandemic could get much worse.

Early in the coronavirus pandemic, the question that most of us found ourselves asking was, "When will this be over?" And while that question still lingers in many minds, at this point it seems clear that the virus isn't going away anytime soon. The new question, as COVID cases surge in states across the country, is, "When will we be out of the danger zone?" According to Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), in order to have control over the pandemic in the U.S., COVID numbers will have to be down to 10,000 daily cases by the fall.

The country is "right in the middle of the first wave," Fauci said in a livestreamed interview with the Journal of the American Medical Association. Currently, the U.S. is experiencing between 50,000 and 60,000 new coronavirus cases every day. "If we don't get them down, then we're going to have a really bad situation in the fall," he said.

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A drop in the daily case rate would indicate that efforts at containing the virus—including wearing masks and social distancing measures—have proven successful. But more importantly, doing so before fall would greatly slow the spread of COVID in the country at a pivotal time, before the start of flu season and colder weather make things worse.

The rise in flu cases alongside the spread of coronavirus could prove catastrophic to an already overburdened health care system. But the drop in temperature may also make the COVID crisis that much worse. No, warm weather does not kill the virus, but chillier fall weather will force more people indoors. The more we realize about how COVID spreads—and the danger of poorly ventilated indoor spaces—the more we understand the surge that a temperature drop could cause.

Fauci's advice for getting the number of daily cases down remains the same. While he is not advocating for a full lockdown, he is suggesting the country "show a degree of consistency" when it comes to masks, social distancing, and hand washing, all of which have been recommended by health experts for the past several months. And for more insight from the nation's leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Fauci Says There's Now Evidence That Coronavirus Spreads This Way.

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