When It Comes to Curbing COVID, This State "Did It Correctly," Fauci Says

As coronavirus cases rise around the country, this state has managed to slow the spread.

We hate to say it, but the coronavirus is not going away anytime soon. More than 140,000 Americans have died since COVID-19 swept through the country in March. Now, the White House has declared 18 states as "red zones" due to their spikes in new cases. But there is a glimmer of hope: While some regions are considering shutting down again, one state has managed to slow the spread and flatten the curve, according to Anthony Fauci, MD, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). In an interview with PBS NewsHour on July 17, Fauci said that New York has been successful in thwarting the disease by making masks mandatory and encouraging people to socially distance.

When asked what he thinks needs to be done in the states that are seeing surges, Fauci told PBS NewsHour host Judy Woodruff: "You have got to do three or four or five things that are absolutely critical, Judy, because we know they work. And that is universal wearing of masks. Stay away from crowds. Close the bars."

He added: "We know that, when you do it properly, you bring down those cases. We have done it. We have done it in New York. New York got hit worse than any place in the world. And they did it correctly by doing the things that you're talking about."

new york city skyline

The Empire State—and New York City, specifically—was once the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States. At its peak in April, the state recorded more than 12,000 new cases in a day, a drastic difference between the record low 509 new daily infections on July 19, according to The New York Times. That's a 96 percent decrease in infections in a few months.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo placed the state under one of the strictest lockdowns in the country, instituting stay-at-home orders and keeping businesses closed for months. Now, as New York City enters phase four of its reopening plan, the governor has extended the pause on indoor dining and activities after seeing other states' outbreaks surge because they reopened too fast.

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Despite New York's encouraging numbers, both Cuomo and Fauci warn citizens not to assume they're out of the woods just yet, urging people to continue avoiding crowds, bars, and other areas where coronavirus can easily spread. "During these confining and frustrating times, I know it's tempting to be tired of the many rules and guidelines the state has issued, but I reiterate that this pandemic is far from over, and the incredible compliance and fortitude of New Yorkers are key parts of our ability to fight COVID-19," Cuomo said in a statement on July 19. "Socially distance, wear a mask, wash your hands, and stay New York Smart." And for more advice from Fauci, check out 13 Tips From Dr. Fauci on How You Can Avoid Coronavirus.