Here's What Dr. Fauci Has to Say About These 11 States' Handling of COVID
From the states that have done everything right to the ones he's most concerned about now.
Throughout the pandemic, Americans have looked to Anthony Fauci, MD, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), for guidance on battling COVID, both on a large scale and in our own homes. The virus has spread through different parts of the country at different times, with some states surging early and others just now in the danger zone. In his various appearances, Fauci has commented on several states' handling of the coronavirus, sometimes with praise and sometimes with concern. Here's what he's had to say recently about 11 key states and how they're doing. And for more from the expert, check out Dr. Fauci Says This Is the Sign That a COVID-19 Surge Is Coming.
In a July 28 appearance on Good Morning America, Fauci listed Texas as one of "the southern states that really, actually had a major surge" last month. But he also added, "It looks like they may be cresting and coming back down." In fact, Texas has not broken its daily new case count record since July 16, when it recorded over 15,000 new cases, per data from The New York Times. Its daily new case average has also dropped 17 percent in the past two weeks. And for places where coronavirus is on the rise, These Two States Are Becoming the Worst COVID Hotspots in the U.S.
California was also listed by Fauci in the same GMA interview as a state where the peak has already—hopefully—passed. Its record for daily new cases was recorded on July 22, with over 12,000 cases; and July also saw California surpass New York in number of total cases. Daily new cases have stayed under 10,000 over the past several days, but California health officials have noted that they have an issue with their reporting system that likely means new cases are being undercounted by the hundreds.
Fauci mentioned Florida in the same breath as Texas and California on GMA. The state's July 12 record of over 15,000 new cases still stands. And while its seven-day average is still close to 8,000, that's a 29 percent drop from where it was last month. For more location-based COVID advice, check out If You Live Here, You Should Get Tested for COVID Every 2 Days, Study Says.
Arizona has also been a U.S. coronavirus hotspot, racking up a total of over 180,000 cases since the pandemic began. But daily cases have been falling relatively steadily since its early July spike. For comparison, Arizona had almost 5,000 new cases on June 30, while there were just over 1,000 recorded on Aug. 4. That's why Fauci also referred to it on GMA as one of those states that had crested but was making progress.
In the same GMA appearance, Fauci told anchor George Stephanopoulos that he was most concerned about states where the positive test rate was increasing, which he called, "a surefire sign that you've got to really be careful." He mentioned Ohio by name, where—per Johns Hopkins University—the seven-day average of tests coming back positive is currently at 5.5 percent. Ohio broke its record of daily new cases on July 31, a few days after this Fauci interview, recording 1,533 new cases that day. And for more from the NIAID chief, Dr. Fauci Says There's Now Evidence That Coronavirus Spreads This Way.
Like Ohio, Tennessee has also seen its positive test rate go up, with a current seven-day average of 8.8 percent. In states such as this, Fauci said, reopening has to be done "in accordance with the guidelines" and citizens have to be encouraged to continue to wear masks, socially distance, avoid crowds, and wash their hands as much as possible. For more advice from the nation's top immunologist, check out Dr. Fauci Says These 5 Things Can Prevent Another Lockdown.
"We just can't afford yet again another surge," Fauci said of these in-danger states in the Southeast and Midwest, including Kentucky. The state's COVID numbers were relatively low until July, when reopening led to increasing daily totals, peaking at 850 on July 19. The seven-day average of its positive test rate is currently 8.1 percent. For more up-to-date coronavirus intel, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Indiana was the final Midwestern state for which Fauci expressed concern. With a seven-day positive test average of 8.1 percent and a relatively recent record of daily new cases (1,002 on July 24), it's in danger of experiencing a spike, the NIAID director said.
In an Aug. 3 interview with Howard Bauchner, MD, the editor in chief of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Fauci added Minnesota as a potential hotspot to watch. Again, he pointed to any positive test rate increase, no matter how small, as a reason to act to prevent a future surge. Minnesota has seen its positive rate climb from around 2 percent in late June to over 5 percent currently, indicating that the state's outbreak is about to worsen.
On the brighter side of things, Fauci praised Connecticut for its coronavirus containment efforts when he took part in a state pandemic briefing on Aug. 3. "Connecticut is in a good place," he said, though he stressed to Gov. Ned Lamont that the state not lower its guard. Its seven-day average positive test rate is just over 1 percent at press time, and Connecticut has managed to keep new daily cases down after peaking in late April.
In a July 17 interview with PBS NewsHour, Fauci held up New York as an example of a state that has used expert guidelines to successfully flatten the curve. The state kept bars closed, mandated masks, and did not allow crowds to gather, he said. "New York got hit worse than any place in the world. And they did it correctly by doing the things that [we're] talking about," Fauci explained. Since peaking in April, New York has managed to drastically slow the spread of COVID-19 and currently has a seven-day average positive test rate of just 1 percent. And for easy steps to protect yourself, Dr. Fauci Wants You to Avoid Doing These 9 Things Right Now.