With the global coronavirus death toll topping 1 million, Dr. Anthony Fauci gave a grim assessment of the pandemic’s impact in the US — which he said “is not in a good place” with more than 205,000 lives lost, according to a report.
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has warned repeatedly that the country is reporting more than 40,000 new cases each day, an “unacceptably high” number that should be below 10,000 at this point, CNBC reported.
As of Sunday, cases were increasing by 5 percent or more in 26 states, according to the news outlet’s analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Montana, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming recorded record-high averages.
Nationwide, cases spiked by almost 9 percent compared with a week ago, according to Johns Hopkins data.
The US, which has less than 5 percent of the world’s population, accounts for 20 percent of its coronavirus deaths, according to the data.
“There are states that are starting to show an uptick in cases and even some increase in hospitalizations in some states,” Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, told ABC ‘s “Good Morning America” on Monday.
“And I hope not, but we very might well start seeing increases in deaths,” Fauci said, adding that he was worried about being in “a position like that as the weather starts getting cold.”
A health worker takes a swab sample from a man to test for the coronavirus in Borough Park.Brendan McDermid/Reuters
On Friday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he would lift restrictions on businesses statewide intended to curb the bug’s spread — and that bars and restaurants would be allowed to operate at full capacity.
“That is very concerning to me,” Fauci told “GMA.” “That is something we really need to be careful about because when you’re dealing with community spread and you have the kind of congregate setting where people get together, particularly without masks, you’re really asking for trouble.”
It took only three months for the deaths to double from half a million, an accelerating rate of fatalities since the first death was recorded in Wuhan, China, in early January, Reuters reported.
More than 5,400 people are dying around the world every day, according to Reuters calculations based on September averages. That equates to about 226 people an hour, or one person every 16 seconds.
Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reacted to the “agonizing milestone” of a million COVID-19 deaths across the globe.
“It’s a mind-numbing figure. Yet we must never lose sight of each and every individual life. They were fathers and mothers, wives and husbands, brothers and sisters, friends and colleagues,” he said in a statement.
“The pain has been multiplied by the savageness of this disease. Risks of infection kept families from bedsides. And the process of mourning and celebrating a life was often made impossible,” Guterres continued.
“How do you say goodbye without holding a hand, or extending a gentle kiss, a warm embrace, a final whispered ‘I love you’?” he said.
“And still there is no end in sight to the spread of the virus, the loss of jobs, the disruption of education, the upheaval to our lives,” Guterres added.
A person tests a temperature reading device at CV19 Essential, a store that specializes in goods to help fight the coronavirus, in Midtown Manhattan.Andrew Kelly/Reuters
“We can overcome this challenge. But we must learn from the mistakes. Responsible leadership matters. Science matters. Cooperation matters — and misinformation kills,” he said.
“As the relentless hunt for a vaccine continues — a vaccine that must be available and affordable to all —let’s do our part to save lives. Keeping physical distance. Wearing a mask. Washing hands.”