By Madeline Holcombe and Jason Hanna
The United States has what it takes to get Covid-19 case levels down to more manageable levels by Election Day in November if it uses masks and other “fundamental tenets of infection control” — but it needs to get serious now, Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN on Thursday.
“We can be way down in November … if we do things correctly , and if we start right now,” Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN’s “New Day.”
Fauci’s roadmap is the same one he’s been preaching, including using masks in public, social distancing and washing hands.
And he points to hopeful signs that this works. Arizona, which had a significant outbreak this summer, has “started to really clamp down and do things right,” he said.
Arizona went from averaging nearly 4,000 cases a day in early July to below 2,000 new cases a day now, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
“I really do believe, based on the data we see in other countries, and in the United States, in states and cities and counties that have done it correctly, that if we pay attention to the fundamental tenets of infection control and diminution of transmission, we can be way down in November,” Fauci said.
“Everybody on the team of American citizens needs to pull together. … It’s up to us,” he said.
Fauci: Test positivity upticks a ‘predictor of trouble ahead’
With 4.8 million cases and 158,268 deaths across the US alone, Fauci elaborated Thursday on a warning that a fellow member of the White House coronavirus task force sounded a day earlier.
On Wednesday, task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx warned state and local officials in a phone call about a uptick in a test-positivity rate in several cities, including Chicago, Boston, Detroit and Washington, DC.
She also said Baltimore, Atlanta, Kansas City, Portland, Omaha and California’s Central Valley “remain at a very high level.”
Test positivity rates can give early indication that a surge in daily case counts will come if nothing is done, Fauci said Thursday.
“So what Dr. Birx is saying, is now is the time to accelerate the fundamental preventative measures that we all talk about: Masks, social distancing, avoiding crowds, outdoors greater than indoors, washing hands, et cetera,” Fauci said.
“Those kinds of simple things can actually prevent that uptick from becoming a surge. So she was warning the states and the cities to be careful, because this is a predictor of trouble ahead.”
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