WASHINGTON -- The government’s top infectious diseases expert is cautioning that the U.S. will have to deal with “a whole lot of hurt” in the weeks ahead due to surging coronavirus cases. Dr. Anthony Fauci's comments in a Washington Post interview take issue with President Donald Trump’s frequent assertion that the nation is “rounding the turn” on the virus.
Fauci says the U.S. “could not possibly be positioned more poorly” to stem rising cases as more people gather indoors during the colder fall and winter months. He says the U.S. will need to make an “abrupt change” in public health precautions.
Speaking of the risks, Fauci says he believes Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden “is taking it seriously from a public health perspective,” while Trump is “looking at it from a different perspective.” Fauci, who's on the White House coronavirus task force, says that perspective is “the economy and reopening the country.”
In response, White House spokesman Judd Deere says Trump always puts people’s well-being first and Deere charges that Fauci has decided “to play politics” right before Tuesday's election.
Deere says Fauci "has a duty to express concerns or push for a change in strategy” but instead is “choosing to criticize the president in the media and make his political leanings known.”
Fauci has said that in his decades of public service, he's never publicly endorsed any political candidate.
Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions.
COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person.
Virginia health officials urged the following precautions:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid contact with sick people.
- Avoid non-essential travel.