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‘Concerned’ Fauci warns that states may be ‘skipping over’ Covid-19 guidelines

The top US infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci has warned that some states may be “going too quickly and skipping over” guidelines in a bid to reopen, as states including Arizona, Texas and Florida have been forced to roll back reopening efforts.

Appearing before the Senate health, education, labor and pensions committee, Fauci said the government needed to do better to “get that message out that we are all in this together” in convincing people to following social distancing measures, as coronavirus cases in the US have increased.

He did so after the White House insisted the outbreak had been reduced to “embers” but after the principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr Anne Schuchat, insisted: “This is really the beginning.”

Schuchat told the Journal of the American Medical Association: “What we hope is that we can take it seriously and slow the transmission. We have way too much virus across the country for that right now, so it’s very discouraging.”

She added that there was “a lot of wishful thinking around the country” that the pandemic would be over by the summer.

“We are not even beginning to be over this,” Schuchat said. “There are a lot of worrisome factors about the last week or so.

“We’re not in the situation of New Zealand or Singapore or Korea, where a new case is rapidly identified and all the contacts are traced, and people are isolated who are sick, and people who are exposed are quarantined and they can keep things under control.”

On Capitol Hill, Fauci said he was “quite concerned about what we are seeing evolve right now in several states” which had moved quickly in attempts to return to normal.

“They need to follow the guidelines that have been very carefully laid out with regard to [reopening] checkpoints,” Fauci said. “What we’ve seen in several states are different iterations of that, perhaps maybe in some, they’re going too quickly and skipping over some.”

The US represents 4% of the world’s population, but accounts for 25% of all cases and deaths from Covid-19.

The US has recorded more than 2.5m confirmed cases, with some states seeing record rises. On Monday, the governor of Arizona ordered bars, movie theaters, gyms and water parks to shut down for a month, weeks after reopening.

Texas, Florida and California, all seeing rises in Covid-19 cases, have rolled back reopening efforts. Oregon and Kansas have ordered people to wear masks in public.

Responding to widely shared images of people around the country not following guidelines – including not wearing a mask and gathering in large groups – Fauci said better messaging was required.

“What we saw were a lot of people who maybe felt because they think they are invulnerable – and we know many young people are not because they’re getting serious disease – that therefore their getting infected has nothing to do with anyone else,” Fauci said.

“When in fact it does, because if a person gets infected they may not be symptomatic but they could pass it to someone else, who passes it to someone else, who then makes someone’s grandmother, grandfather, sick uncle or leukaemic child on chemotherapy, get sick and die.”

Fauci said: “We’ve got to get that message out that we are all in this together and if we’re going to contain this, we’ve gotta contain it together.”

New daily cases are rising in 38 states, according to NPR’s pandemic tracker, but the White House continues its attempts to downplay the severity of Covid-19. At a briefing on Monday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany ignored the surge.

“The people who are being infected tend to be those – as Vice-President Pence has noted – half of those testing positive are under the age of 35. This means we’re catching people in their communities,” she said.

She added: “We’re aware that there are embers that need to be put out.”

Anthony Fauci: ‘Anti-science, anti-vaccination feeling’ could thwart Covid effort – video

Fauci said on Sunday the US was unlikely to achieve herd immunity to the coronavirus even with a vaccine, given a third of Americans say they would not receive it.

“There is a general anti-science, anti-authority, anti-vaccine feeling among some people in this country – an alarmingly large percentage of people, relatively speaking,” Fauci said, adding that the government has “a lot of work to do” to educate people about vaccines.

Even states where the rate of new infections has decreased are rethinking plans to allow businesses to reopen. New Jersey has postponed plans to allow indoor dining, while the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, said he may reverse plans to allow restaurants and bars to reopen.

Broadway theaters will remain closed until January 2021, an industry group said on Monday. Theaters had planned to reopen in September.

People in the US are expected to be barred from non-essential travel to the EU when it releases a “safe list” of countries on Tuesday. Russia and Brazil, each experiencing rising coronavirus cases, are among the other countries to be excluded from the list.

Read the original article at The Guardian

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