The US is "not in place" as each day coronavirus instances spike over 40,000, Fauci says


Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, testifies during a hearing for the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee to investigate Covid-19, pending an update on the federal response in Washington, DC, September 23, 2020.

Graeme Jennings | AFP | Getty Images

The United States is "not in a good place" as colder months loom and the number of newly reported coronavirus cases continues to surpass 40,000 people a day, said White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, on Monday.

According to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, Covid-19 cases in 26 states grew 5% or more as of Sunday based on a weekly average to smooth daily coverage. Montana, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming all achieved record levels.

According to Johns Hopkins data, cases nationwide grew nearly 9% from a week ago, and averaged just over 44,300 new cases on Sunday.

Fauci, director of the National Institute on Allergies and Infectious Diseases, has been saying for weeks that the US is reporting an "unacceptably high" number of new coronavirus cases every day. The country should be targeting new cases below 10,000 daily, not around 40,000 as it currently stands, he said.

"There are states that are beginning to see an increase in hospital stays in some states and even an increase in some states," Fauci told ABC's Good Morning America program in an interview broadcast Monday.

"And I hope not, but it is very likely that the death toll will increase," said Fauci. "This is really something that I discussed a while ago as something that you don't want to be in that position when the weather turns cold."

The coronavirus has killed nearly 1 million people worldwide, a grisly milestone in the pandemic that emerged late last year. The US is responsible for about 20% of the world's Covid-19 deaths, but less than 5% of the world's population, according to Johns Hopkins.

"The numbers around the world are very serious," said Fauci.

Cases are growing in the Midwest and West

Wisconsin reported a record 2,817 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, according to Johns Hopkins data. The state reported more than 2,000 new Covid-19 cases on Sunday for four consecutive days – a first for Wisconsin since the pandemic began.

"Wisconsin is currently seeing unprecedented, near exponential growth in the number of Covid-19 cases in our state," said Governor Tony Evers in a video posted on Twitter Friday, adding that the increase in people between ages has been driven by 18 and 24.

Utah governor Gary Herbert announced last week that the state would reverse reopenings in the towns of Provo and Orem, south of Salt Lake City, as the area continues to report "discouraging trends" in cases. Utah reported a record 1,411 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, according to Johns Hopkins data.

"This is the first time that we roll backwards," said Herbert during a press conference on Tuesday.

Cases of sun belts are decreasing

Meanwhile, the coronavirus outbreaks that occurred in the American sun belt states during the summer months are continuing to subside.

According to a CNBC analysis of Johns Hopkins data, new coronavirus cases were down almost 15% in Florida and more than 40% in Arizona on Sunday, based on the weekly average, compared to a week ago. California also reported a slight decrease in coronavirus cases.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said Friday that he would lift restrictions on businesses across the state to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. Bars and restaurants can be used to full capacity.

DeSantis said local officials can impose restrictions, but they can't be too burdensome and they must justify the restrictions to the state.

"This is very worrying for me," Fauci told GMA on Monday in relation to Florida's reopening. "This is something we have to be really careful about because when you are into community diffusion and you have the kind of gathering that people get together, especially without masks, you are really asking for trouble."

Senior US health officials have warned that much of the US population remains vulnerable to the coronavirus, dispelling theories about "herd immunity". The director of the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Robert Redfield told lawmakers last week that more than 90% of the country's population remains susceptible to infection.

– CNBC's Will Feuer contributed to this report.


Steven Gregory