Disease expert Anthony Fauci warns US could have 100,000 cases per day


Disease researcher Dr Anthony Fauci has told the US Senate that he "would not be surprised" if new virus cases in the country reach 100,000 per day.


"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 said.


"Clearly we are not in control right now," he testified, warning that not enough Americans are wearing masks or social distancing.


The surge - which is occurring particularly strongly in southern and western states - has forced at least 16 states to pause or reverse their reopening plans, according to CNN.


The urgent message came during a hearing on the latest efforts by the US government to contain the pandemic.


Also on Tuesday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo expanded the number of Americans who are required to self-quarantine for 14 days if they visit the state. There are now 16 states on the list.


The newly added states are California, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada and Tennessee.


They join Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Utah.

The order affects 48% of all US residents, according to a USA Today analysis.


Asked if the pandemic is under control, Fauci said, "I am not satisfied with what's going on because we are going in the wrong direction if you look at the curves of the new cases, so we've really got to do something about that and we need to do it quickly," adding, "Clearly we are not in total control right now."


Fauci said that he can't make an accurate prediction of the number of cases and deaths the US will see before the pandemic is over, but said, "It's going to be very disturbing, I will guarantee you that."


Dr Fauci also called on the US government to produce face masks to be distributed for free to all Americans, and condemned the "all or none phenomenon" of some people who have completely disregarded social distancing measures.


Fauci and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield stressed the importance of wearing masks during testimony before a Senate committee on Tuesday, with Fauci saying "we recommend masks for everyone" and "masks are extremely important."


Redfield singled out younger Americans in particular to deliver a message that they are not exempt from the necessity of wearing a mask.


"It is critical that we all take the personal responsibility to slow the transmission of Covid-19 and embrace the universal use of face coverings," he said.


Before the hearing began, Republican Senator Lamar Alexander, who leads the committee, appealed to President Donald Trump to wear a face mask - an act he has yet to do in a public event.


On Monday, Dr Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC, warned that the US is not responding like other countries who have shown success in containing the coronavirus, and has allowed the virus to spread much more widely and rapidly.


"We're not in the situation of New Zealand or Singapore or Korea where a new case is rapidly identified and all the contacts are traced and people are isolated who are sick and people who are exposed are quarantined and they can keep things under control," Dr Schuchat said.


The US has recorded 2,682,897 confirmed cases of coronavirus as of Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University, and has a total of 129,544 deaths.