Surging COVID-19 cases are derailing reopening plans in several states. With this, the nation’s top infectious disease doctor says it could get worse if people don’t start to take the virus seriously.
The Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, Dr. Anthony Fauci, warned that the number of new cases per day could balloon to 100,000. This can happen if the public continues to defy social distancing and facemask restrictions. “It could get very bad,” Dr. Fauci warned the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.
The U.S. is currently recording about 40,000 new COVID-19 cases per day as outbreaks in several states raise questions about the country’s path to recovery. Health experts say simple precautions like mask-wearing and social distancing could help flatten the curve, but the onus is on state governments to enforce the restrictions.
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Coordinated Federal Response
Fauci Warns Coronavirus Cases Could Reach 100,000 a Day, as Surge Delays Reopeningshttps://t.co/2XeDgKSvd8
— International News (@Link2News) July 1, 2020
The country’s fractured state-by-state response to pandemic has led some experts to call for a coordinated federal response. Dr. Lisa M. Lee, a public health expert at Virginia Tech, says it’s time for the federal government to intervene. “As a country, we need a coordinated federal response because viruses do not care about state borders,” Dr. Lee said in a statement to the Wall Street Journal. “We need people to understand that during this pandemic, privileging personal freedoms will result in loss of life.”
Much of the country’s hopes rest on an effective vaccine being deployed soon. However, some experts are pessimistic about the timeline for developing such a treatment. “We will see continued spread until we can distribute an effective vaccine, which is a year or more, not months away,” says Dr. Lee.
On Tuesday, the FDA released an outline of its approval conditions for COVID-19 vaccine candidates. The guidelines state that the vaccine must be at least 50% more effective than a placebo in preventing COVID-19. The FDA also emphasized that it would only approve vaccine candidates that demonstrated their safety and effectiveness through clinical studies.
Some states where localized outbreaks have occurred are rolling back their reopening timelines, but most governors are hesitant to reenact full-blown lockdown orders. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said emphatically that the state would not go back on reopening and blamed socializing young people for the spike in cases. Florida reported 6,000 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, prompting several counties in the state to closed beaches ahead of the upcoming Independence Day holiday weekend.
The recent spike in cases has led some politicians to call for federal regulations regarding mask-wearing in public. Last week, Democratic Presidential hopeful Joe Biden said he would impose a mandatory mask rule if elected. House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) also supports a federal mandate on mask-wearing. Goldman Sachs recently conducted an economic study that concluded that localized flare-ups could subtract 5% from U.S. GDP this year if a national mask rule isn’t implemented.
President Trump has taken a hands-off approach to a national mask-wearing rule. White House Press Secretary Kaleigh McEnany told reporters that the president has no objections to face masks, but he views mask-wearing as a personal choice. “ It’s the personal choice of any individual as to whether to wear a mask or not. He encourages people to make whatever decision is best for their safety, but he did say to me he has no problem with masks, and to do whatever your local jurisdiction requests of you,” McEnany told reporters gathered for a White House press conference.
Unsurprisingly, Trump’s critics have been quick to attack the president over his views on masks. After all, the Democratic strategy going into election season is to blame Trump for everything. However, localized outbreaks are a local problem, and it’s up to the state-level leadership to flatten the curve unless the federal government is forced to intervene.