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U.S. adds 73K more cases; Dr. Anthony Fauci says end of COVID-19 ‘not even close’

Oct. 28 (UPI) — The United States’ top infectious diseases expert says the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t even close to being finished, as another 73,000 cases were added nationwide — bringing the tally for the past week well over a half-million.

There were about 73,200 new cases on Tuesday, according to updated data from Johns Hopkins University. Over the past seven days, there have been about 503,000 new cases.

There were nearly 1,000 coronavirus deaths Tuesday, the most in a week, the data showed.

“Unfortunately, we’re right now in the middle of what’s going to be referred to … as the mother of all outbreaks over the last hundred years,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during a discussion at the Yale Institute for Global Health.

“And we’re not even close to being finished with it yet.”

For weeks, Fauci and other top health experts have warned of rising cases in the coming months as the pandemic enters a period of colder weather, when more people gather indoors, and flu season.

Fauci said he’d hoped the United States would use the summer to get a better grip on the health crisis before the winter months, but said “we are not well positioned” to handle the outbreak over the next few months.

“We need to continue with masks, safe distancing, and the other public health measures that we are adhering to now for at least a year,” he added.

Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 8.78 million infections and about 226,800 deaths in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins. Worldwide, there have been 44 million cases and almost 1.2 million deaths.

Tuesday, President Donald Trump listed “ending the pandemic” as one of the accomplishments of his first term.

“From the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the administration has taken decisive actions to engage scientists and health professionals in academia, industry, and government to understand, treat, and defeat the disease,” the White House said in a statement.

Trump has repeatedly clashed with scientists, including Fauci, and dismissed their proposals and advice for controlling the crisis. Trump has also consistently ignored safety guidelines like distancing and wearing masks at a number of gatherings at the White House and on the campaign trail.

Fauci has previously said mixed messages coming from the Trump administration about the pandemic has been a major obstacle in defeating the coronavirus.

“I am very disturbed by the intensity of divisiveness we are seeing,” Fauci told the Yale Institute for Global Health. “I have received serious threats to my life, there are federal agents guarding my office.”

In Wisconsin, health officials reported a record Tuesday for deaths in a single day. The state’s positivity rate has risen to about 26%. They also say hospitals are becoming overwhelmed and facing staff shortages.

“There is no way to sugarcoat it, we are facing an urgent crisis and there is an imminent risk to you and your family

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Infectious Disease Expert Contradicts Anthony Fauci, Reveals How Thanksgiving Travel Could Be Safe

While Dr. Anthony Fauci is warning against large family gatherings and travel for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S., another health expert is saying that those who utilize proper precautions should be okay to do some traveling over the holidays.

Speaking to WPTV, an NBC affiliate station, Dr. Kleper De Almeida, an infectious disease specialist with JFK Medical Center in Atlantis, Florida, said that he felt travel could take place over the holiday season, including Thanksgiving, so long as those choosing to travel did so in a smart and safe way.

“As long as people take the measures that we should be applying every day, it would be safe to travel,” he said. “We need to be very mindful of that while we travel to protect ourselves from exposure, and in doing so, minimizing the risk of bringing it back to our communities.”

De Almeida’s comments directly contradict ones made by Fauci, who is the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and has been seen as the face of COVID-19, as he repeatedly warns Americans of rising infection rates and encourages mask use and social distancing. However, while those measures can help slow the spread, he has warned against letting them be the sole means of protection when it comes to considering a larger gathering for Thanksgiving and even admitted that he was taking precautions by not spending the holiday with his own daughters.

“That is unfortunately a risk, when you have people coming from out of town, gathering together in an indoor setting,” Fauci said. It is unfortunate, because that’s such a sacred part of American tradition—the family gathering around Thanksgiving. But that is a risk.”

The CDC echoed Fauci’s concerns with their guidelines for the holiday season, and traditional events that draw large crowds, like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, are going virtual to try and prevent the spread.

The United States currently stands at more than 8 million total COVID-19 infections reported and 218,000 deaths, with more than 70,000 new cases reported Friday, the largest increase since July. According to statistics from the New York Times, a total of 29 states continue to report high numbers of cases, while 16 other states are starting to report upticks.

In the past seven days, states that have seen high surges in percentages of cases have been North and South Dakota, which have seen more than 500 cases per 100,000 residents, with Montana, Wisconsin and Nebraska also reporting high numbers, with more than 300 cases per 100,000 residents. Currently, the only states that have seen less than 100 infections per 100,000 people (less than 0.001 percent), have been Vermont, Maine, Hawaii, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, California, Washington, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Virginia, Florida, Delaware, Georgia and Louisiana.

Fauci said the government would not make any future COVID-19 vaccine obligatory for the general public Fauci said the government would not make any future COVID-19 vaccine obligatory for the general public Photo: POOL / Al Drago

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