‘US risks greater COVID-19 outbreak if the latest surge not controlled’

Washington: Anthony Fauci, the top US expert in infectious diseases, has expressed his concern over the sudden spike of COVID-19 cases in the country, warning of the risk of a greater outbreak if the latest surge is not controlled.

“We got hit very badly, worse than any country, with regard to the number of cases and the number of deaths,” Fauci told the BBC on Wednesday.

“The problem we’re facing now is that in an attempt to so-called reopen or open the government and get it back to some form of normality, we’re seeing very disturbing spikes in different individual states in the US.

“We’ve got to get that under control or we risk an even greater outbreak in the US,” he added.

As of Thursday, the US accounted for the world’s highest number of infections and fatalities with 2,685,806 and 128,061, respectively, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

Comparing the situation in the US to how some European countries controlled the spread of the virus, Fauci told the BBC: “They closed down to the tune of about 97 per cent lockdown. In the US, even in the most strict lockdown, only about 50 per cent of the country locked down. That allowed the perpetuation of the outbreak.”

“We need to engender some societal responsibility in people, particularly the younger people,” he said, adding that young people were less likely to be seriously affected by COVID-19 but could still spread the disease.

Fauci’s remarks on Wednesday came a day after he told the US Senate that he “would not be surprised” if new virus cases in the country reach 100,000 per day, the BBC reported.

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

On Tuesday, cases rose by more than 40,000 in one day for the fourth time in the past five days.