White House health adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday that parts of the United States are beginning to see a “disturbing increase” in coronavirus infections.
While New York State is seeing a decrease in Covid-19 cases, other states are seeing an increase in cases that “reflect an increase in community spread,” said Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy. and Infectious Diseases, during a hearing before the Chamber’s Energy and Commerce Committee. “That’s something that really worries me a lot.”
The coronavirus, which has sickened more than 2.4 million Americans, continues to spread rapidly throughout the United States. As of Monday, the seven-day average of new infections in the US USA It increased more than 30% compared to a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University. Cases are growing 5% or more in 26 states, including Arizona, Texas, Florida, and Oklahoma. Coronavirus hospitalizations are also on the rise.
US cases increased to an average of 30,000 infections per day at the peak of the outbreak before stabilizing at around 20,000 infections per day, Fauci said. “Now we are going to go up [again]. A couple of days ago, there were 30,000 new infections. “
“That is very problematic for me,” he said.
There are no FDA-approved treatments for coronavirus. US health officials and scientists USA They compete to develop a vaccine, which Fauci hopes will be ready early next year.
Fauci told lawmakers that “we must be careful” that scientists prove that a potential vaccine is safe and effective before it is distributed to the public.
“I would be very disappointed if we reached a conclusion before knowing that a vaccine was truly safe and truly effective, because I did not want the perpetual ambiguity of not knowing whether it is really safe and truly effective,” he said.
Scientists say they are still learning about key aspects of the virus, including the immune system’s response once a person is exposed. They say the answers can have big implications for vaccine development, including how quickly it can be deployed to the public.
A recent study published in Nature Medicine found that antibodies to the coronavirus can last only two to three months after a person becomes infected with Covid-19. The researchers examined 37 asymptomatic people, those who never developed symptoms, in the Wanzhou district of China. They compared their antibody response to that of 37 people with symptoms.
Fauci reiterated Tuesday that scientists do not know how long people are protected after a coronavirus infection.
“You are probably protected, but we don’t know how long you are protected,” he said.
Black Americans become disproportionately sick and die of the coronavirus. Black people make up nearly 13% of the United States population, but they accounted for 23% of all Covid-19 deaths as of June 3, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
During the hearing, Representative Bobby Rush, an Illinois Democrat, asked Fauci if institutional racism contributed to the disproportionate impact the virus has had on African Americans. Fauci said “Yes”.
“The African American community has suffered racism for a very, very long period,” he said. “And I cannot imagine that this has not contributed to the conditions in which they find themselves economically and otherwise, so the answer, Congressman, is yes.”
He was also asked about Covid-19 deaths in the United States in general. While cases and hospitalizations are on the rise, deaths appear to be declining. Fauci told lawmakers that deaths lag behind cases and hospitalizations.
Deaths may increase as more people go to the hospital, he said.