The top U.S. infectious-disease expert called on U.S. states with a resurgence of COVID-19 infections to pause their reopening plans to prevent the further spread of the ailment caused by the novel coronavirus.
In an interview Friday with The Washington Post, Dr. Anthony Fauci said states may not necessarily have to go all the way back to a complete shutdown but added, “You certainly have to call a pause and maybe even a backing up a bit.”
Fauci also said that for the other states, “Please take a look at the example of what happens when you open in a way that might be too quickly.” He said, “Everybody should be trying to reopen America again,” but that it should be done in accordance with set guidelines.
Fauci also said during the interview that he and his family have been receiving death threats and have a security detail assigned to protect them.
Fauci’s comments came one day after COVID-19 infections in the United States exceeded 4 million, with more than 500 deaths reported in California, Florida and Texas, all of which are grappling with sharp increases in infections. The U.S. continues to lead the world in COVID infections, followed by Brazil with more than 2 million and India with more than 1 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking cases around the world. There are more than 15.5 million global COVID-19 infections, according to Johns Hopkins, and more than 634,000 deaths.
As the surge in new U.S. coronavirus infections forced many businesses to close or cut back, there was also a sharp rise in the number of U.S. workers who applied for jobless benefits last week. The U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday that 1.4 million workers filed for unemployment benefits, ending 15 consecutive weeks of declines in new filings.
The unemployment figures were released as Republican lawmakers struggled to find consensus on a $1 trillion COVID-19 rescue package, including how to extend jobless benefits. The Democratic-led House of Representatives passed a $3.5 trillion rescue bill more than two months ago and is calling for much more funding to assist state and local governments staggering under pandemic-related shortfalls as tax and fee revenues fall.
The pandemic continues to escalate throughout the world, with surges in Melbourne, Australia, as well as Brazil, India, Hong Kong and Spain.
Hong Kong is experiencing its largest outbreak since December, prompting the territory to impose new lockdown measures.
Hundreds of thousands of people in Spain are again on lockdown after a fourfold surge in infections.
On Friday, India reported its largest one-day surge of cases in a 24-hour period – 49,310 cases with 740 deaths.
The head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies says he expects the coronavirus will have a huge impact on migration for years to come.
Jagan Chapagain told the French news agency AFP that “people will feel compelled to move” when borders open because of lost livelihoods and food insecurity.
The pandemic has affected the way the U.S. Congress is paying its respects to Representative John Lewis, the civil rights icon who died a week ago. A small, invitation-only ceremony will be held in the Capitol Rotunda in the coming days. Under normal circumstances, the public would be able to pass by his coffin in the Rotunda, but because of coronavirus concerns, his body will be taken to the east front of the Capitol for public viewing, keeping people outside the building.
Wayne Lee contributed to this report.