Fauci warns US is ‘knee-deep’ in first wave of coronavirus

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States (US) is still “knee-deep” in its first wave of coronavirus infections and must act immediately to tackle the recent surge, the country’s top infectious diseases expert said on Monday.

Anthony Fauci said the number of cases had never reached a satisfactory baseline before the current resurgence, which officials have warned risks overwhelming hospitals in the country’s south and west.

“It’s a serious situation that we have to address immediately,” Fauci said in a web interview with National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins.

But Fauci added he did not strictly consider the ongoing rise in cases a “wave”.

“It was a surge or a resurgence of infections superimposed upon a baseline,” he said.

“If you look at the graphs from Europe, the European Union (EU) as an entity, it went up and then came down to the baseline. Now they’re having little blips, as you might expect, as they try to reopen. We went up, never came down to baseline, and now we’re surging back up.”

The death toll from the virus in the US hit 130,000 on Monday, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University, and the number of infections is nearing three million.

A worrying number of new cases were reported amid a resurgence that has forced several states to suspend phased economic reopenings.

Signs remind patrons to wear masks and other protocols because of the coronavirus pandemic as they stroll through the Disney Springs shopping, dining and entertainment complex in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. PHOTO: AP