Fauci Warns U.S. Could Reach 100K Daily COVID-19 Cases As States Walk Back Reopenings

“We’re going in the wrong direction … Congregation at a bar, inside, is bad news. We really gotta stop that right now.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies at a hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Getty Images.

The nation’s leading infectious disease doctor Anthony Fauci warned the U.S. could see more than 100,000 COVID-19 cases a day, as one-day surges in reopened states continue to climb.

Fauci’s dire prediction is already coming to fruition: The U.S. broke another daily record with more than 48,000 daily cases on Tuesday, the New York Times reported.

Fauci, the Director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testified at a U.S. Senate committee hearing on Tuesday, warning that the resurgence of cases in states including Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California leave the rest of the country vulnerable. Fauci said “we’re going in the wrong direction,” adding that those four states account for nearly 50% of the country’s latest COVID-19 cases.

“Clearly, we are not in total control right now,” Fauci said. “We are now having 40-plus-thousand new cases a day. I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around, and so I am very concerned.” He added: “We will continue to be in a lot of trouble.”

Fauci added that he has seen people congregating in large groups without wearing masks, specifically at indoor bars. “Bars: really not good,” he said.

“Congregation at a bar, inside, is bad news,” Fauci said. “We really gotta stop that right now when we have areas that are surging like we see right now.”

Fauci also said that outdoors are better than indoors when it comes to socializing, especially when wearing a mask.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said during the hearing that Dr. Fauci warned back in March that the U.S. would likely see 100,000 deaths by the summer. More than 127,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the U.S. as of July 1, according to Johns Hopkins. Texas, Florida, and Arizona have consistently broken their records for single-day numbers of cases over the last few weeks.

“I can’t make an accurate prediction, but it will be very disturbing, I can guarantee you that,” Fauci said when asked what he thinks case counts will look like in the future. “We can’t just focus on those areas that are having a surge, it puts the entire country at risk.”

In an effort to curb the spread from surging states, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced on Tuesday that eight more states have been added to the list that mandates travelers from those states quarantine if they come to New York, Connecticut, or New Jersey.

The tri-state area issued a joint incoming travel advisory last week, mandating that travelers from 16 states quarantine for 14 days. California, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, and Tennessee were added to the list.

On Monday, the Trump administration and the Department of Health and Human Services announced the U.S. ordered a surplus of remdesivir, a potential COVID-19 treatment drug. The HHS said it has secured more than 500,000 treatment courses of remdesivir through September. No drug has been approved to treat COVID-19, but the Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization in May for remdesivir to treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

Some officials argue that the U.S. has bought nearly all of the drug’s stock, leaving almost nothing for Europe, Australia, and other parts of the world. Remdesivir was tested with other viruses including Ebola, MERS, and SARS. Early trials found that remdesivir helped patients recover faster from COVID-19.

The European Union Council announced on Tuesday a list of external countries whose visitors will be eligible to travel in its borders, and the U.S. did not meet the criteria because of the spread of COVID-19.