As the number of newly reported coronavirus cases in the United States continued to surge over the July 4th weekend, Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the country isn't "going in the right direction" when it comes to its epidemic and warned that officials shouldn't "balance lives against the economy."
US new coronavirus cases near 3M, deaths near 130K
Fauci's comments came as U.S. officials as of Monday morning reported 2,910,600 total cases of the new coronavirus since the country's epidemic first began—up from 2,653,200 cases that were reported as of Wednesday morning.
U.S. officials on Thursday reported more than 55,000 new cases of the coronavirus, which is the largest single-day total of new cases the country has reported so far and the highest single-day total of new cases reported by any country since the global coronavirus pandemic first began. According to Axios' "Vitals", data shows that at least 15 states—Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Montana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia—reported record single-day increases in new coronavirus cases in the past seven days.
Data from the New York Times shows the U.S. Virgin Islands and 38 states saw their average daily numbers of newly reported coronavirus cases rise over the past 14 days: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Many public officials and health experts say America's recent spike in new coronavirus cases stems from states moving too quickly to reopen nonessential businesses, lift stay-at-home orders, and relax social distancing measures that were intended to curb the virus' spread.
Meanwhile, the Times' data shows that the average daily numbers of newly reported cases over the past two weeks remained mostly stable in Guam; Puerto Rico; Washington, D.C.; and 12 states: Connecticut, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Virginia.
In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said the state will move forward with its reopening plans on Monday, but it will not resume indoor dining "after seeing other states' experiences."
New Hampshire saw its average daily numbers of newly confirmed cases decrease over the past 14 days, according to the Times' data.
As of Monday morning, officials had reported a total of 129,938 U.S. deaths linked to the new coronavirus—up from 127,461 deaths reported as of Wednesday morning.
Fauci says US coronavirus epidemic 'not going in the right direction'
As America's new coronavirus epidemic continued to resurge, Fauci during an interview on Friday with JAMA Editor-in-Chief Howard Bauchner said, "[I]t's pretty obvious … [the country is] not going in the right direction" when it comes to its coronavirus epidemic.
Fauci said state officials and businesses should take a public health approach when considering reopening plans, warning, "You don't want to balance lives against the economy." He added, "So, let's get public health to help us to get the economy open as opposed to two opposing forces."
Fauci also called on Americans to continue following social distancing and other public health guidelines intended to curb the coronavirus' spread, warning that the surges in new coronavirus cases currently occurring in some states could spread to other states where transmission appears to be under control. "We need to realize that if we do not adhere to the guidelines as we're trying to open, and I don't mean officially, I mean the citizenry, the people [who] are out there, we're going to be in some serious difficulty."
Hospitals overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients
Meanwhile, hospitals in states experiencing spikes in new coronavirus cases are becoming overwhelmed with patients with Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus—and such hospitals are either nearing or have surpassed their capacity.
In Texas, for example, the number of patients hospitalized with Covid-19 swelled from 3,247 two weeks ago to 8,181 as of Sunday—with some hospitals in the state already reporting that they have reached their capacity. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner (D) during an interview with CBS said, "I will tell you, a month ago one in 10 people were testing positive [for the new coronavirus]. Today, it's one in four. The number of people who are getting sick and going to the hospitals has exponentially increased. The number of people in our ICU beds has exponentially increased. In fact, if we don't get our hands around this virus quickly, in about two weeks our hospital system could be in serious, serious trouble."
Similarly, Austin, Texas, Mayor Steve Adler (D) during an appearance on CNN's "State of the Union" said, "We're on a trajectory right now that we could be inundating our [ICUs] here within the next week to 10 days."
And in San Antonio, coronavirus-related hospitalizations have increased by 55% in the city's trauma service region over the past seven days. Officials expect hospitals in the city could become swamped with Covid-19 patients in a week or two.
Elsewhere, data from Florida shows that some hospitals in the state have ICU units that are close to capacity. Miami Mayor Dan Gelber (D) said hospitalizations for Covid-19 in the city have grown twofold in the past two weeks, and the number of patients on ventilators has increased from 64 two weeks ago to 158 (Owens, "Vitals," Axios, 7/6; Shumaker/Chiacu, Reuters, 7/5; Hall, Reuters, 7/6; Farzan et al., Washington Post, 7/6; Silva, NPR, 7/5; Wilson, The Hill, 7/2; Higgins-Dunn, CNBC, 7/2; O'Brien et al., Wall Street Journal, 7/5; New York Times, 7/1; McCallister, NPR, 7/3).