Coronavirus cases continued to rise over the weekend in nearly a dozen U.S. states as Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, warns of the worrying level of new infections in the country.
Cases of Covid-19 were growing by 5% or more, based on a weekly average to smooth out daily reports, in 11 states as of Sunday, according to a CNBC analysis of data collected by Johns Hopkins University, an increase from eight states Friday.
The states were Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Wisconsin hit a record high in its daily average of new cases, reporting 1
The new data comes two days after Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said current data on the Covid-19 outbreak in the United States is “disturbing,” at odds with President Donald Trump, who he said the US epidemic is “rounding the corner.”
While cases are growing in 11 states, the overall daily average of new cases in the United States is decreasing. Over the past seven days, the country has reported an average of about 34,300 new cases per day, down more than 15% from a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of Hopkins data. That’s far less than the approximately 70,000 new cases per day reported by the United States weeks ago.
However, the 34,300 new cases per day are alarmingly high, infectious disease experts say, and U.S. health officials fear the outbreak could worsen as the nation enters the fall and winter season. Health officials have repeatedly warned that they are preparing to fight two harmful viruses circulating by the end of the year as the coronavirus outbreak begins flu season. Earlier this month, Fauci said new daily cases were “unacceptably high” so close to autumn.
Health officials say the United States is unlikely to return to “normal” until there is a safe and effective vaccine. There are currently no U.S.-approved drugs or vaccines for the virus, although U.S. regulators have authorized some treatments for emergency use for hospitalized patients.
Earlier in the day, Pfizer’s CEO, one of the first in the race for a Covid-19 vaccine, said his vaccine could be distributed to Americans before the end of the year if deemed safe and effective.
The company is currently in an advanced stage of testing and hopes to enroll up to 44,000 attendees.
Albert Bourla told CBS’s “Face the Nation” that the drug manufacturer should have key data from his late-stage study to the Food and Drug Administration by the end of October. If the FDA approves the vaccine, the company is ready to distribute “hundreds of thousands of doses,” he said.
Even if a vaccine is approved for release later this year, it will likely be in short supply. The vaccine is likely to require two doses at varying intervals, and states still face logistical challenges such as setting up distribution sites and acquiring sufficient needles, syringes and bottles for vaccinations.
For now, leaders can stop new outbreaks by practicing the “basics” of public health and disease control, medical experts and officials say.
The World Health Organization recommends that people wear masks to slow the spread of the virus. Scientists say Covid-19 can spread through respiratory droplets that pass when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Studies suggest that masks can act as a useful barrier to the spread of infection.
The agency also recommends that people wash their hands regularly, keep their distance from others, and avoid going to crowded places. If you have a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, see a doctor, but call ahead if possible and follow the directions of your local health authority, WHO said.