Fauci warns: US in for 'bad' fall and winter if unprepared for 2nd coronavirus wave

Tim Jimenez
April 29, 2020 - 8:29 am

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — As some states such as Georgia begin reopening after the economic shutdowns of the coronavirus pandemic, and Pennsylvania and New Jersey plan for it in the relatively near future, the top infectious disease expert in the U.S. warns a second round of COVID-19 is inevitable.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, a leading expert on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, says the state of testing for the virus in the U.S. will determine how bad — or manageable — the second wave will be. Fauci says the the coronavirus isn’t going anywhere, and states lifting restrictions too early could set the country back.

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"It’s not gonna disappear from the planet,” he said at the Economic Club of Washington on Tuesday, "which means, as we get into next season, in my mind, it’s inevitable that we will have a return of the virus. Or maybe it never even went away.

“If we are unsuccessful or prematurely try to open up, and we have additional outbreaks that are out of control, it could be much more than that. It could be a rebound to get us right back in the same boat that we were in a few weeks ago.”

Fauci said the U.S. could be in for a rough fall or winter if countermeasures aren’t in place. 

“If we have the capability of identifying, isolating and contact tracing in a highly effective and efficient way, then the numbers will stay low,” he said.

The U.S. continues to lag behind in testing, according to a new report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The nation has performed 16.4 tests per 1,000 people, according to the report. Spain and Italy, with the second and third highest number of cases after the US, have conducted 22.3 and 29.7 tests per 1,000 people respectively.

Fauci says the federal government needs to provide strategic guidance and assistance to help states up their number of conducted tests. He hopes he can guarantee everyone who needs a test can get one by the end of May or early June.

In his words, the country is heading in the right direction on testing, and he hopes anyone who needs a test can get one by the end of May or early June.

According to Johns Hopkins University. the U.S. has around 1/3 of the more than 3,000,000 coronavirus cases in the world. More than 58,000 people have died in the U.S., and a leading model from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation predicts more than 72,000 will die by early August.

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The CNN Wire contributed to this report.