U.S. coronavirus data is ‘disturbing,’ Dr. Fauci says in disputing Trump

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci (R) listens as US President Donald Trump speaks during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, at the White House on March 24, 2020, in Washington, DC.

Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images

The current data on the U.S. Covid-19 outbreak is “disturbing,” White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said Friday as he disputed President Donald Trump’s claim that the U.S. is “rounding the corner.”

Trump said Thursday evening at a White House press briefing that “I really do believe we’re rounding the corner.” MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell asked Fauci on Friday about the president’s comments.

“I’m sorry, but I have to disagree with that because if you look at the thing that you just mentioned, the statistics, Andrea, they’re disturbing,” he said. “We’re plateauing at around 40,000 cases a day and the deaths are around 1,000.”

Daily new cases in the U.S. have fallen substantially since new national cases peaked in late July, when the country reported nearly 70,000 new cases in a day, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Over the past seven days, the country has reported an average of about 35,200 new cases per day, down more than 12% compared with a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of Hopkins data. However, recent data reporting has likely been impacted by the Labor Day holiday weekend, which shuttered some local health departments and clinical laboratories. 

While the number of daily new cases remains far lower than the peak, the country is still reporting a worrying level of new infections, Fauci said.

“When you have a baseline of infections that are 40,000 per day and you have threats of increased test positivity in certain regions of the country, such as the Dakotas and Montana and places like that … You don’t want to start off already with a baseline that’s so high,” he said.

He added that the concerns are heightened by the approaching fall and winter seasons, which will likely push people indoors where the virus can spread more easily.

Fauci said the U.S. will be in a “more precarious situation” in the fall and winter and if the country continues to report the current level of new cases everyday, it will put the U.S. at “a disadvantage right from the very beginning.”

This is breaking news. Check back here for updates.

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