Dr. Fauci Warns That COVID Surges Are Moving Into These 2 U.S. Regions
"We're trying to avoid a repeat of what we've seen in those Southern states."
The coronavirus pandemic looked like it was showing signs of slowing down in May, but it quickly picked back up with vigor in late June and July. During this second surge, Southern states like Texas appeared to be hit harder than others. But as the weeks have passed, other states are starting to feel the heat, too. According to Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), COVID surges are actually now moving into these two specific regions: the Midwest and the Southeast.
The Southern and Southwestern states that have already been hit by a resurgence of cases—Florida, Texas, Arizona, and Southern California—had an increase in positive coronavirus test rates, Fauci explained during an interview with MSNBC on July 29.
"That's a surefire indication that you are in a process where you're heading towards a resurgence," Fauci said. "We're starting to see that in some of the states now—Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana, and other of those states."
According to Kentucky governor Andy Beshear, Kentucky reported that nearly 6 percent of residents were testing positive for the virus the week of July 20—the highest rate reported for the state in months. The Covid Act Now resource reports that Tennessee and Indiana are both clocking in at around 8 percent positive, and Ohio is reporting nearly 5 percent.
These Midwestern and Southeastern states have to get ahead of the curve, Fauci says. "What we're seeing now is what actually took place a couple of weeks ago. And what we're going to see a couple of weeks from now, is what we're doing now," he said.
To slow the spread, Fauci listed out five principles he says the states need to start "initiating rather strict adherence to." These guidelines are the universal wearing of masks, avoiding crowds, physical distancing of at least six feet, typical hand hygiene, and avoiding bars or closing them where possible. If states aren't able to push these measures, he says that "what inevitably is going to happen is that the states that are not yet in trouble will likely get into trouble."
"That's one of the things that's kind of tough to comprehend. You look around and it looks like you're doing OK, but if you're not getting your arms around and suppressing that surge that's coming up—that's just a little bit below the radar screen—before you know it, two to three weeks down the pike, you're in trouble," Fauci explained. "And that's what we're trying to avoid. We're trying to avoid a repeat of what we've seen in those Southern states." And for more from Fauci, discover The One Way Dr. Fauci Says You're Not Protecting Yourself From COVID.