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July 9, 2020

Is it time to shut down—again? Some states should 'seriously' consider it, Fauci says.

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    Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on Wednesday said states "having a serious problem" containing the new coronavirus' spread "should seriously look at shutting down," as the United States on Wednesday reported 59,400 new cases of the virus, marking a new record single-day increase.

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    US new coronavirus cases near 3.1M, deaths top 132K

    As of Thursday morning, U.S. officials reported 3,071,600 total cases of the new coronavirus since the country's epidemic first began—up from 3,014,100 cases reported as of Wednesday morning.

    The increase marked the fifth time in nine days that the United States reported a record-high number of new coronavirus cases in a single day, the New York Times reports. The previous record, which U.S. officials reported on Friday, was 56,567 cases.

    Data from the Times shows the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and 36 states saw their average daily numbers of newly reported coronavirus cases rise over the past 14 days: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

    On Wednesday, five states—Missouri, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia—each reported record-high single-day increases in their totals of new coronavirus cases, the Times reports. And Florida, which has seen its coronavirus infection rates swell in recent weeks and reported nearly 10,000 new cases of the virus on Wednesday, has now become an epicenter of the global coronavirus pandemic.

    Meanwhile, the Times' data shows that the average daily numbers of newly reported coronavirus cases over the past two weeks remained mostly stable in Guam; Washington, D.C.; and 12 states: Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, and Virginia.

    New Hampshire and Vermont saw their average daily numbers of newly confirmed cases decrease over the past 14 days, according to the Times' data.

    As growth in new coronavirus cases accelerates throughout most of the United States, predictive models now estimate that the number of U.S. coronavirus cases could reach four million by the end of this month.

    Lily Wang, an associate professor of statistics at Iowa State University, said that, when most states had implemented stay-at-home orders at the end of April, her models had predicted that some states would see nearly no new coronavirus infections this summer. However, those predictions have changed as states lifted stay-at-home orders, reopened nonessential businesses, and eased social distancing measures intended to curb the virus' spread.

    And while America's coronavirus-related death rate overall has declined over the past several weeks, some states are beginning to report spikes in their daily totals of newly reported deaths tied to the virus.

    As of Thursday morning, officials had reported a total of 132,237 U.S. deaths linked to the new coronavirus—up from 131,329 deaths reported as of Wednesday morning.

    Christopher Murray, director of the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), said the IHME model estimates that the United States' coronavirus-related death toll will rise to more than 208,000 by November. Murray said his projection factors in a potential increase in transmission of the new coronavirus as state and local officials show a greater reluctance to reimpose coronavirus-related restrictions, and as schools and universities reopen in the fall.

    Fauci urges states 'having a serious problem' containing coronavirus outbreaks to lock down

    During an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, Fauci said states "having a serious problem" controlling the new coronavirus' spread "should seriously" consider reimplementing stay-at-home orders and other measures intended to curb the virus' transmission. As "a member of the [White House's] coronavirus task force, I'm telling you that we have a serious situation here that we really do need to address," he added.

    Fauci explained, "What we're seeing is exponential growth, it went from an average of about 20,000 [new coronavirus cases reported in the United States each day] to 40,000 and 50,000. That's doubling."

    He said state and public health officials need to align themselves on "messaging" to ensure Americans remain safe, and added that the country's recent spikes in new coronavirus infections partly stem from states reopening too quickly.  

    "Some states went too fast, [and] some states went according to what the time table was, but the people in the state didn't listen, and threw caution to the wind," he said (New York Times, 7/9 [1]; Weixel, The Hill, 7/8; Goldberg/Cancryn, Politico, 7/8; Behrmann, USA Today, 7/8; New York Times, 7/9 [2]).

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