Lockdown eased too soon and was never strict enough, warns Dr Fauci

Lockdown has been eased too soon – and was never strict enough – warns Dr Fauci as he slams young people hitting beaches, bars and protests who risk infecting more vulnerable people amid ‘disturbing’ spike in cases to over 52,000 a day

  • Dr Anthony Fauci gave dire warning over America’s coronavirus response as new cases topped 50,000 a day
  • Initial lockdowns were not strict enough and were lifted too soon and too fast, causing case spike, he said 
  • Second wave is also being driven by younger people gathering in bar, at beaches and at protests, he added 
  • ‘We need to engender some societal responsibility in people, particularly the younger people,’ Facui said
  • The US has so-far confirmed 2,686,587 cases of the virus and 128,062 deaths, the highest totals in the world

Anthony Fauci has warned that America’s coronavirus lockdown was lifted too soon, was never strict enough in the first place, and that young people are driving a second wave that has seen daily infections top 50,000.

Fauci, the White House’s top virus adviser, said the ‘very disturbing’ new rise in cases is being caused in part by the fact that the US never got its first wave under control – only locking down around 50 per cent of the country compared to 97 per cent as happened in most of Europe where daily infections are now very low.

That meant that when the economy started to reopen, the virus began spreading rapidly almost immediately because there were still a large number infected people to pass the disease along, he told BBC Radio 4 in the UK.

But he added that the rise is also being driven by people, particularly young people, gathering in large groups, without socially distancing, and often without wearing masks – such as in bars, at beaches, and during protests.

‘What happens when you do that, and you don’t wear a mask, you get the kinds of outbreak we’re seeing,’ he said.

Dr Anthony Fauci has warned that a ‘disturbing’ new spike of coronavirus cases in the US is being driven by ineffective lockdowns and people – particularly young people – gathering in large groups at beaches, in bars, and during protests (pictured, people on Hollywood Beach in Florida on Sunday)

Daily new cases in America have now risen to over 50,000 per day, larger than any total seen during the first wave, which has seen some states roll back their reopening plans (pictured, people gather at Salt River in Arizona, one of the badly-hit states) 

Texas (pictured, people at a bar in Austin) is also among states that have been badly hit during the second wave, forcing governor Gregg Abbot to close bars and reduce restaurant capacity

New York has managed to greatly reduce its number of coronavirus cases since the peak of infection in early April, but there are now fears of a second wave as bars start to reopen (pictured, crowds celebrating Pride in Manhattan’s West Village)

Protesters, some of whom are not wearing masks, are pictured marching through downtown Los Angeles on June 23 – as coronavirus cases started to spike in California

Protesters, the vast majority of whom are not wearing masks, are pictured marching through Austin, Texas, on June 28 – even as cases spike across the state

Dr Fauci said America only locked down around 50 per cent of the country, unlike European nations which shut down 97 per cent and have reduced daily case totals to double-digits in many places that were previously epicenters

America is now recording daily case totals that are far in advance of the first wave, and has a total case count of more than 2.5million, the highest number of cases anywhere in the world

‘What they’ve got to realize is that although you as a young person are infected and may not get any consequence of it… it is likely you will infect someone else who will infect someone else, who might infect a vulnerable person. 

‘Then you get into very serious consequences, maybe even death. We need to engender some societal responsibility in people, particularly the younger people.’

Fauci spoke after the US reported a record 52,000 new COVID-19 cases within 24 hours on Wednesday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. 

There were a total of 52,898 new cases over the 24 hours to Wednesday evening. The total number of COVID-19 cases in the US was 2,686,249 early Thursday morning and the number of deaths stood at 128,062.

The daily coronavirus case numbers have remained around the 40,000 mark in recent days. More than 44,000 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the US on Tuesday. 

Adding to the rise in cases, hospitalizations for COVID-19, the contagious respiratory disease that first emerged in China, are also increasing in Houston, Texas and Phoenix, Arizona.

Speaking about the numbers, Fauci said: ‘Obviously it’s a serious situation. If you look at the different curves between the European Union, the UK and others… they’ve had big spikes, and then they’ve brought it down almost or even to base line in some countries.

‘The situation in the United States has been more problematic. We got hit very badly, worse than any country with regards to the number of cases and the number of deaths. 

‘The problem we’re facing now is that an attempt to so-called reopen or open the government and get it back to some form of normality – we’re seeing very disturbing spikes in different individual states in the United States.

‘What we’ve seen over the last several days is a spike in cases that are well beyond the worst spikes that we’ve seen. That is not good news, we’ve got to get that under control or we risk an even greater outbreak.’ 

The US has seen a record 52,000 new COVID-19 cases within 24 hours on Wednesday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. This map shows the concentration of coronavirus cases in the US

This map shows how the number of COVID-19 cases in the US has skyrocketed since January to over 2.6million in July

On Wednesday alone Texas broke its daily record and recorded 8,076 new cases, which is nearly 1,000 more than the day prior.

The startling spikes in cases have forced states such as Texas, California and Florida to buckle down and halt their reopenings.

On Wednesday California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered all bars, indoor restaurant operations and movie theaters to shut down immediately in most parts of the states, nearly three weeks after the state’s bars, stores, restaurants, and salons opened for the first time following a three-month lockdown.

Since then, the number of COVID-19 cases have begun to rise again, increasing nearly 50 percent over the last two weeks, with a 43 per cent spike in hospitalizations.

Contrary to the data, President Donald Trump insisted the virus will simply disappear during an interview with Fox Business on Wednesday.

‘I think we’re going to have a vaccine very soon,’ he said.

‘We’re headed back in a very strong fashion … And I think we’re going to be very good with the coronavirus. I think that at some point that’s going to sort of just disappear. I hope,’ he added.

Tuesday’s new case increase of more than 44,000 infections marked a jump of more than 80 percent compared to a single day increase reported just two weeks ago, according to a Reuters tally.  

Steep national increases in cases are driven by a handful of states, eight of which hit record-high new cases Tuesday. Those states are Alaska, Arizona, California, Georgia, Idaho, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas.  

Top US infectious disease specialist Dr Anthony Fauci warned during a Tuesday Senate hearing that daily infections could soar to 100,000 ‘if this does not turn around’ and, while he declined to predict a specific number of fatalities, he worries the death toll in the US could reach ‘disturbing’ heights. 

President Trump has attributed the surging daily case numbers to a ‘great’ expansion of coronavirus testing in the US. The number of test run Tuesday, June 30, was nearly double the number of tests run on May 30, according to data from the Covid Tracking Project. 

But the number of daily cases has now far surpassed what was thought to be the pandemic’s peak, in April. 

Public health experts warn that, although the number of people dying each day is down significantly, these increases typically lag behind case increases, with one recent study estimating a 17-day delay. 

Eight US states – Alaska, Arizona, California, Georgia, Idaho, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas – hit record-highs for new coronavirus cases on Tuesday. COVID-19 cases across the US increased by 46 percent in the week ending June 28, compared to the previous seven days, with the majority of rises occurring in the West and South of the country

Amid alarming coronavirus case increases, states are beginning to roll back their reopenings. After its cases doubled over the past two weeks, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey issued an executive order for bars, gyms and movie theaters to shut down immediately on Monday.  

Tuesday, Delaware ordered some of its beach towns shut down their bars after a recent spike in cases. 

More than 11,500 people in Delaware have now tested positive for coronavirus and the state announced 95 new cases Tuesday. Over the weekend, 270 new cases were diagnosed. 

Delaware Governor John Carney’s order was met with protests in at least one town. Citizens in Dover took to the streets brandishing signs that read ‘enough is enough.’ 

The re-closures come just before the July 4 weekend, which would have been a boon to businesses, especially in beachfront towns, where bars will now have to shut their doors. 

Like Delaware, Alaska’s total number of cases is low compared to more populous states like California or Texas, but the recent uptick is disturbing. 

TEXAS: With 6,975 new cases confirmed Tuesday, Texas hit a new record-high for its number of daily coronavirus infections

ALASKA: The state has ranked near the bottom of the US for coronavirus cases, but set a record high of 48 new infections on Tuesday 

On Tuesday, 48 new cases were confirmed in the sparsely populated state, bringing the total to 544 (including 144 visitors). 

It’s the largest single-day increase in cases in the state to-date, and includes 12 non-residents. Fourteen Alaskans have died of coronavirus. 

Alaska was among the last states to be hit by coronavirus. Only Hawaii and US territories like Guam and the Virgin Islands currently have fewer cases. 

In the past three weeks, as cases have ticked up in the state, Alaska has stepped up screening and testing at its airports. Last week, about 5,000 travelers were tested. Airport screening and testing has resulted in 45 positive tests so far, according to KTVA. 

Arizona is still the most worrisome state. New daily infections there – as sell as in Florida, Louisiana, Idaho and Washington state – have more than doubled in the past week. 

ARIZONA: Once again, Arizona has hit a record high number of new daily coronavirus infections with nearly 4,7000 new infections confirmed yesterday

ARIZONA: Nearly 1,600 people have died of coronavirus in Arizona, but public health experts warn the death toll may lag behind the surging case rates 

According to data tracking from Johns Hopkins University, 4,630 new coronavirus cases were added to Arizona’s talley on Tuesday. That falls just shy of Monday’s record 4,682 new cases in the state.  

Arizona’s Republican governor Doug Ducey on Monday all bars, gyms, movie theaters and water parks to close for at least 30 days.

The state’s cases increased 29 percent in the last week after reporting several record daily increases in cases. 

Most Arizona bars and nightclubs opened after the governor’s stay-at-home and business closure orders were allowed to expire in mid-May.

Texas, too, has rolled back its reopening, which began in mid-April. Yesterday, 6,975 new coronavirus cases were confirmed in the Lone Star state, shattering its previous single-day increase record of 5,996 new cases last week. 

On Friday, Governor Greg Abbott announced a number of new, but modest restrictions on businesses. 

Even as cases have surged, daily deaths have remained relatively low in the US. Public health experts warn that death increases may lag several weeks behind case increases, but a major fatality spike has not been seen following the April peak of daily infections, according to a chart from OurWorldinData.org 

Bars or restaurants that gross most of their income from alcohol must close at noon. Dine-in restaurants are allowed to stay open, but only at 50 percent occupancy. All river rafting and tubing businesses were ordered closed, and outdoor gatherings of more than 50 people must now get permission from local authorities to proceed. 

He stopped short, however, of re-issuing full closures or stay-at-home orders. 

Governor Abbott said the state would take further action only if the rate of positive tests there exceeds 10 percent. With 2,119,036 total tests run and 159,986 cases, the state now current rough positivity rate is 7.5 percent. 

Now, local leaders are calling on the governor to allow them to issue their own stay-at-home orders. 

‘If you are not willing to take these actions on behalf of the state, please roll back your restriction on local leaders being able to take these swift actions to safeguard the health of our communities,’ Sam Biscoe, interim Travis County judge, wrote in a letter to Abbott on Monday. 

California has taken a much stricter approach to the pandemic and was one of the first states to shutdown. 

But its cases are once again surging. Now, 222,917 Californians have tested positive in total, with 6,367 new positives confirmed Monday, marking the second-highest single day increase in the state to-date. 

Governor Gavin Newsom ordered bars in several counties, including Los Angeles County, to reclose, and reinstated stay-at-home orders in the border county of Imperial, California. 

OKLAHOMA: The state has had relatively low case rates, but on Tuesday it set a record of more than 12,500 new cases (Pictured: a graph of cases by date of onset. Cases confirmed on Tuesday may be reflected in bars for previous days, when symptoms began) 

IDAHO: On June 30, Idaho set a record for the highest number of new infections in the state to-date, suggesting it may become a hotspot 

On Tuesday, Governor Newsom warned that more restrictions – including mandatory mask-wearing and potentially renewed stay-at-home orders – are to come. 

‘Tomorrow we’ll be making some additional announcements on efforts to use that ‘dimmer switch: that we’ve referred to, and begin to toggle back on our stay-at-home order and tighten things up,’ said Newsom during a press briefing. 

‘The framework for us is this: if you’re not going to stay home and you’re not going to wear masks in public, we have to enforce and we will, and we’ll be making announcements on enforcement tomorrow.’ 

South Carolina, Oklahoma, and Idaho also hit their greatest number of new cases in a single day since coronavirus hit the US. 

Although increases in the Southern US have been largely blamed for the surging overall US total, the addition of these states suggests that the issue may be more widespread than previously thought.  

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