White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNBC in an interview Wednesday that the United States is “going in the wrong direction” as coronavirus cases rise in 47 states and infected patients overwhelm hospitals across the country.
“If things do not change, if they continue on the course we’re on, there’s gonna be a whole lot of pain in this country with regard to additional cases and hospitalizations, and deaths,” the White House coronavirus taskforce member said in an interview Wednesday evening on “The News with Shepard Smith.”
States in the northeast held the virus in check over the summer, but are seeing cases climb again. New York topped half a million confirmed cases while hospitalizations in New Jersey crossed 1,000 for the first time since July.
Fauci noted, however, that cities like New York and Philadelphia are more equipped to deal with the surge, whereas locations in the northwest and heartland are going to have a more difficult time with the pandemic.
“They never had the kind of hospital and intensive care facility and flexibility that some of the larger hospitals in larger cities have,” said Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “They’re concerned that if the trajectory continues, they may be in a position where they are going to be strapped for things like intensive care beds,” said Fauci.
In the Midwest, cases and hospitalizations are surging at record numbers. Wisconsin had a 7-day positivity rate of 28% while Minnesota reported its highest number of Covid-19 hospitalizations to-date. Hospitalizations have tripled in less than three weeks in El Paso, Texas. Joel Hendricks, the Chief Medical Officer at El Paso’s University Medical Center even warned about the possibility of rationing hospital care there during an interview with NBC’S Gabe Gutierrez.
“Rationing of care is the worst thing doctors ever want to talk about,” said Hendricks. “Having said that, we have looked at that, we’re in the process of looking at that.”
Dr. Fauci told Smith that he doesn’t foresee the United States taking the same lockdown measures that Melbourne, Australia took to curb its summer spike in cases. Melbourne only reopened Wednesday after spending three months shut down.
“There is very little appetite for a lockdown in this country,” said Fauci. “There’s going to be major pushback both from above and at the local level, however, what Melbourne did, what Australia did as a country, was very successful.”
Dr. Fauci suggested doubling down on masks, distancing, and avoiding crowds and congregations amid Americans’ coronavirus fatigue, and added that the country would “be much better than we’re doing right now.”
For more of Dr. Anthony Fauci’s interview with Shepard Smith, watch the full interview above.