Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned that the United States is "going in the wrong direction" as the number of new COVID-19 cases continues to climb across the country.
Testifying in front of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, Dr. Fauci said he is "very concerned about what's going on right now, particularly in the four states that are accounting for about 50% of the new infections."
Those four states are Arizona, California, Florida, and Texas. A total of 36 states are currently seeing an increase in cases compared to the previous week.
Fauci said that if people don't start wearing masks in public and following social distancing and reopening guidelines, the pandemic is only going to get worse.
"If you look at what's going on and just look at some of the film clips that you've seen of people congregating, often without masks, of being in crowds and jumping over and avoiding, and not paying attention to the guidelines that we very carefully put out we're going to continue to be in a lot of trouble and there's going to be a lot of hurt if that does not stop," Fauci said.
He warned that if we do not get the situation under control, the U.S. could see more than 100,000 new cases every day.
"We're going in the wrong direction if you look at the curves of the new cases," Fauci said. "We need to do something about that and we need to do it very quickly."
He said one cause of concern is how easily the coronavirus can spread in bars and restaurants, and urged people to avoid going out for drinks.
"Bars: really not good, really not good. Congregation at a bar, inside, is bad news. We really have got to stop that," Fauci said.
He said that as states work to reopen businesses they should be cautious and work with health officials to ensure that proper guidelines are followed.
"We should not look at the public health endeavors as being an obstruction to opening up. We should look at it as a vehicle to opening up," he said. "We've got to be able to get people to get out and enjoy themselves within the safe guidelines that we have. Make public health work for you as opposed to against you."
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