It comes as the national seven-day average of new daily cases creeps up from roughly 50,000 earlier this month to exceed 70,000, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins.
‘What we’re likely seeing is because of things like spring break and pulling back on the mitigation methods that you’ve seen. Now, several states have done that. I believe it’s premature,’ Fauci told CBS News’ Face The Nation on Sunday.
New York has taken gradual steps to reopen, such as expanding indoor dining capacity and reopening movie theaters, but has not moved as dramatically as other states such as Texas and Mississippi.
Dr. Anthony Fauci has called the easing of pandemic restrictions ‘premature’ and warned of the potential for another U.S. surge in COVID-19 as cases spike in New York
Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, has long taken a cautious attitude toward easing restrictions on business and social life, and once again warned that a dangerous surge could be around the corner.
‘When you’re coming down from a big peak and you reach a point and start to plateau, once you stay at that plateau, you’re really in danger of a surge coming up,’ said Fauci.’ ‘And unfortunately, that’s what we’re starting to see.’
‘What we’re likely seeing is because of things like spring break and pulling back on the mitigation methods that you’ve seen,’ he said.
Fauci, who is chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden, said that the country is in a ‘race’ between rapid vaccine rollout and a potential surge in new cases.
‘There are 50 million people in this country that are fully vaccinated. That’s a lot of people. And every day we get more and more,’ he said.
‘I would expect that as we get through the summer, late spring, early summer, there’s going to be a relaxation where you’re going to have more and more people who will be allowed into baseball parks, very likely separated with seating, very likely continuing to wear masks,’ Fauci continued.
People gather in Domino Park with a view of the Manhattan skyline in the background on Friday in the Brooklyn borough of New York City
NEW YORK: About 54,600 people in New York tested positive for the virus in the last week, a number that has begun to inch up recently. Trends for new cases in New York are shown above in a chart from Johns Hopkins University
NEW JERSEY: Even as the vaccination campaign has ramped up, the number of new infections in New Jersey has crept up by 37 percent in a little more than a month. Trends for new cases in New Jersey are shown above in a chart from Johns Hopkins University
‘As we get a really, really low level of infection, you’re going to start seeing a pulling back on some of those restrictions, I hope. And I think that’s going to happen. I think if we do it correctly and we get the vaccines out at the rate we’re doing, that will happen,’ he said.
Biden was asked by reporters Sunday for his take on the latest case numbers.
‘Based on what I’m hearing that apparently people are letting their guard down, but I’m having a meeting with the team tomorrow and I’ll get a better sense,’ he said.
Even as the vaccination campaign has ramped up, the number of new infections in New Jersey has crept up by 37 percent in a little more than a month, to about 23,600 every seven days.
About 54,600 people in New York tested positive for the virus in the last week, a number that has begun to inch up recently.
The two states now rank No. 1 and 2 in new infections per capita among US states. New Jersey has been reporting about 647 new cases for every 100,000 residents over the past 14 days. New York has averaged 548.
The situation in New York and New Jersey mirrors a national trend that has seen case numbers inch up in recent days. The US is averaging nearly 62,000 cases a day, up from 54,000 two weeks ago.
Neither state is experiencing anything like what they saw last spring, when hospitals – and morgues – were overflowing. And like the rest of the country, both are in a much better place than in January, at the peak of the pandemic’s winter spike.
But the lack of improvement or even backsliding in recent weeks has raised concerns that the states are opening too quickly and people are letting down their guard too much, just as potentially more contagious variants of the virus are circulating more widely.
However, Texas, which removed all pandemic restrictions earlier this month, has seen cases continued to trend down for the most part.
Texas, which removed all pandemic restrictions earlier this month, has seen cases continued to trend down for the most part, though they have risen in the past few days
Though the seven-day average of daily new cases in Texas has risen slightly in recent days, it remains at a level comparable with early October, before the fall surge.
Other states including Maryland, Connecticut and Mississippi have eased Covid-related restrictions, lifting mask mandates or allowing restaurants, retailers and others to reopen with fewer or no restrictions.
Fauci also warned that travel over the coming Easter holiday could fuel a new surge, as occurred after the year-end holidays.
‘Even if on the planes people are wearing masks, when you get to the airport, the check-in lines, the food lines for restaurants, the boarding… invariably increase the risk of getting infected,’ he said.