Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci commended the steps Americans are taking to socially distance but warned that the country as a whole should not “be pulling back.”
“This is the end of the week — that famous week that we spoke about last weekend,” Fauci said today during a White House coronavirus task force meeting. “It’s important to remember that this is not the time to feel that since we have made such important advance in the sense of success of the mitigation that we need to be pulling back at all.”
Dr. Deborah Birx, an HIV researcher and the White House coronavirus response coordinator, struck a similar tone. She commended the Washington and Baltimore areas for their adherence to social distancing guidelines, while cautioning that the US has “not reached the peak” of coronavirus infections.
“I know last week, we asked a lot of people in the Washington and Baltimore area to consolidate, not go out frequently to grocery stores or pharmacies. You can see that’s having a huge impact, so it’s really about the encouraging signs that we see. But as encouraging as they are, we have not reached the peak, and so every day, we need to continue to do what we did yesterday and the week before and the week before that. So in the end, that will take us across the peak and down the other side,” Birx said.
The US has more than 475,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and nearly 18,000 deaths, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.