For months, Dr. Anthony Fauci has cautioned the American public on the importance of mitigating the spread of the novel coronavirus. Even with strict social distancing, sanitizing and other measures, Fauci has warned that the virus likely will be seasonal in nature and the U.S. could see a dangerous second wave in the fall and winter – a claim which he is now walking back on.
“We don’t inevitably have to have a second wave. I mean people talk about it but it doesn’t necessarily have to occur,” the nation’s top infectious disease expert said during an appearance on CNBC Friday. “It’s the way we and the efficiency and effectiveness in which we put the manpower, the systems, the tests, to identify isolate and contact trace that will determine how successful we are in preventing that wave.”
Fauci clarified his comments by saying that while there will still be new cases throughout the country in the coming months, he is “cautiously optimistic” that it can be handled so long as there are increased testing and contact tracing capabilities.
Certain areas of the country may have faced setbacks in the wake of mass protests since the May 25 death of George Floyd. Although all 50 states have lifted shelter-in-place orders, social distancing remains a top recommendation among health experts. Demonstrators gathering in massive crowds has now left Fauci and other other top doctors concerned about new spikes in cases.
“I get very concerned, as do my colleagues in public health, when they see these kinds of crowds,” Fauci told Washington’s WTOP-FM radio over the weekend. “There certainly is a risk. I can say that with confidence.”
“It’s a difficult situation. We have the right to peacefully demonstrate and the demonstrators are exercising that right,” Fauci added. “It’s a delicate balance because the reasons for demonstrating are valid and yet the demonstration itself puts oneself at an additional risk.”
Confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. are now approaching 2 million while the death toll stands at over 110,000.