“We can be way down in November … if we do things correctly , and if we start right now,” Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN’s “New Day.”
Fauci’s roadmap is the same one he’s been preaching, including using masks in public, social distancing and washing hands.
And he points to hopeful signs that this works. Arizona, which had a significant outbreak this summer, has “started to really clamp down and do things right,” he said.
“Everybody on the team of American citizens needs to pull together. … It’s up to us,” he said.
Fauci: Test positivity upticks are a ‘predictor of trouble ahead’
She also said Baltimore, Atlanta, Kansas City, Portland, Omaha and California’s Central Valley “remain at a very high level.”
“So what Dr. Birx is saying, is now is the time to accelerate the fundamental preventative measures that we all talk about: Masks, social distancing, avoiding crowds, outdoors greater than indoors, washing hands, et cetera,” Fauci said.
“Those kinds of simple things can actually prevent that uptick from becoming a surge. So she was warning the states and the cities to be careful, because this is a predictor of trouble ahead.”
At least 39 states as well as Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico have put some type of order in place that mandates the use of masks, and the development of vaccines is advancing with the hope that they could reach the public in 2021, Fauci has said. Still, the nation still is missing the cohesive response to the virus he would like to see.
The US went from averaging near 20,000 new cases a day in late May to above 60,000 new cases daily in July. The daily average is below 60,000 now.
Fauci indicated Thursday he thinks the US didn’t lower daily case rates enough in the spring — but he also think that the country can get them down “to a level of hundreds of cases, and maybe a thousand or two” with the preventive measures he’s prescribing.
States and cities taking matters into their own hands
Without a strong national game plan in place, state leaders are taking control of coronavirus measures.
Testing, contact tracing, masks and distancing have all been stressed by health experts as measures that could help reduce the spread of the virus and bring numbers down to the baseline necessary to reopen safely.
To ramp up production of tests that can give results in 15 to 20 minutes, governors from Maryland, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio and Virginia reached an agreement to run a total of 3 million rapid antigen tests, according to a statement released Tuesday.
Meanwhile, when people do test positive in Virginia, a new app announced by Gov. Ralph Northam on Wednesday will alert those with whom they have been in close contact of their potential exposure. COVIDWISE uses Bluetooth Low Energy technology, not personal information or location data, to detect when people have been in close enough range, according to a release.
In Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti said he’s authorized the city’s water and power department to shut off service to places that host non-permitted large gatherings, beginning Friday.
“This … is not focused on small and ordinary gatherings in people’s homes. These are focused on the people determined to break the rules, posing significant public dangers and a threat to all of us,” Garcetti said Wednesday.
Los Angeles County has banned gatherings of people from different households, including parties, and violations are punishable by fines and jail time, the county’s public health director, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, said Wednesday.
Since the beginning of June, the county’s coronavirus case rate for people ages 30-49 nearly tripled, and the rate for ages 18-29 nearly quadrupled, Ferrer said.
“This is also the age group that is most likely to be attending the large parties that we keep seeing,” Ferrer said.
Schools facing tough choices
School districts have been at the center of a difficult debate about whether to reopen schools for in-person classes as infections continue to spread.
As of Thursday, 62 of the country’s largest 100 school districts have said they will start the school year with full online learning, accounting for nearly 7 million students.
Early in the outbreak, health experts believed severe infections and spread were less likely among children. But more recent data shows that while children are far less likely to die from Covid-19 than adults, they can still pass the disease on to others.
Single parents, those whose jobs do not allow them to work from home and those without access to child care are at risk of having to choose between sending their children to school — whether or not they think its safe — or quitting their job to stay home with them, said Dr. Edith Bracho-Sanchez, a primary care pediatrician and assistant professor of pediatrics at Columbia University Irving Medical Center.
“We have failed the parents and the kids of this country,” she said.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Mississippi’s rank among states for coronavirus cases. It is the the fifth-highest per capita.
CNN’s Shelby Lin Erdman, Gisela Crespo, Elizabeth Stuart, Rebekah Riess, Amanda Watts, Rashard Rose, Jennifer Henderson, Sarah Moon and Holly Yan contributed to this report.