Coronavirus live updates: Fauci calls ‘herd immunity’ declaration embraced by White House ‘ridiculous’

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top expert on the coronavirus pandemic, said the recent rise in COVID-19 infections across the United States is “concerning” as winter nears.

“We have a baseline of daily infections that are approximately 45-50,000 per day,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a key member of the White House coronavirus task force, told ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos in an interview Thursday on “Good Morning America.”

“The issue is as we enter — as we are now — into the cooler season of the fall and ultimately the colder season of the winter,” he added, “you don’t want to be in that compromised position where your baseline daily infection is high and you are increasing as opposed to going in the other direction.”

Dozens of U.S. states are reporting upticks in COVID-19 test positivity rates, which Fauci said “has proven in the past to be a very good prediction of a surge in cases, which ultimately leads to a surge in hospitalizations.”

“Then ultimately in some individuals, that obviously will be an increase in deaths,” he added. “So we really got to double down on the fundamental public health measures that we talk about every single day, because they can make a difference.”

Fauci, who said that his adult daughters won’t be spending Thanksgiving with him and his wife this year due to concerns about spreading the virus, urged families to be careful during the upcoming holidays and evaluate both the risks and benefits of gathering indoors.

“It’s up to the individuals and the choices they make,” he said.

When asked about President Donald Trump’s packed campaign rallies, where many supporters are seen without face masks, Fauci said it’s “a high-risk endeavor.”

“I don’t like to be pitted against what the president says, but it’s so clear that when you have congregate settings and so many people, when you’re in a situation when the community infection rate is there, you can’t runaway from or argue with the numbers,” he said.

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