While the United States is facing its toughest week yet in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci says that the intense mitigation efforts put in place in many areas are having a positive impact and that the country should see the "beginning of a turnaround" after this week.
As CNBC reports, Fauci said on Wednesday that the rate of hospitalizations appears to be slowing and that new cases are reaching their peak this week — as is the number of deaths from the disease. While the news is sobering, it's also an indication that things are shifting in a better direction.
Fauci warned that a peak doesn't mean that the country should begin to loosen its efforts. Instead, it's more important than ever to continue the intense policies that have helped to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
"So, we need to keep pushing on the mitigation strategies because there is no doubt that that is having a positive impact on the dynamics of the outbreak," he said. "Now is not the time to pull back at all. It's the time to intensify."
He also said that the number of deaths generally lags behind the number of new cases, which means that as fewer people are admitted to the hospital, the death rate may continue to intensify in the short term.
The United States reached over 400,000 people infected in all 50 states and the District of Columbia on Wednesday, with nearly 13,000 people killed. Experts have warned that up to 240,000 Americans could ultimately die from the disease, though Fauci has said that projection is likely to be revisited as the pandemic appears to be slowing.
Most areas have issued some sort of statewide stay-at-home directive, with nine Republican governors holding out. Experts say that social distancing has helped to reduce the severity of the outbreak. Some states, like Washington and Oregon, which began early and intense efforts to keep people at home, have been able to mitigate the spread to the point where they are sending their ventilators to other states that have been harder hit by COVID-19.Fauci, who heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and is a member of President Donald Trump's coronavirus task force, has warned that the coronavirus could likely become a seasonal virus, much like the flu. As The Inquisitr previously reported, he says that it's unlikely we'll be able to eliminate the virus, but that a vaccine could limit its effect in the future.