WASHINGTON– The United States is heading in the wrong direction when it comes to combating the Coronavirus pandemic, says National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Anthony Fauci.
In an interview with Howard Bauchner, editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American Medical Association, Fauci said he is becoming “increasingly alarmed” with the number of Covid cases in the U.S..
“I think it’s pretty obvious, Howard, that we are not going in the right direction,” Fauci said. “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 that are out there, we’re going to be in some serious difficulty.”
Noting the recent surge in cases in states such as Arizona, California, Florida and Texas, four states that have accounted for about half the new cases in the country this year, Fauci warned: “The whole enterprise could be at risk.”
As school districts nation wide make plans to reopen their doors this fall, Fauci said education officials must be optimistic, but cautious.
“When you look at schools, there really is a delicate balance there, because obviously if you have massive, massive outbreaks where you have an exponential elevation of a curve of new infections in a particular area, you really don’t want to have the kids go to school there. But we really need to be much more flexible in what we can do to get the children back to school,” he said. “A fundamental principle is, within the realm of some prudent evaluation of the safety to the children and the impact on the community, we should try as best as possible to get the kids back to school.”
“In certain circumstances where you get them back but there are still viral dynamics in the community, there are a lot of creative ways that superintendents of schools are thinking seriously about how you can mitigate the possibility of there being children being the vehicles of spread: Alternating days of classes, morning versus afternoon, the wearing of masks for children who are old enough to understand what it means to wear a mask, having capabilities of online for children who have underlying conditions that might put them at risk, protecting the teachers,” he said. “The principle should be, how can we prudently, with sensitivity to the safety of the kids, get the children back to school?”
Fauci’s comments come just one day after health officials confirmed more than 50,000 new cases of coronavirus in a single 24-hour period.