During his high-profile Senate hearing on Tuesday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) shared current facts about the coronavirus outbreak in the United States over the last 16 weeks. She asked Fauci for his honest opinion on whether or not the U.S. has the virus “contained.”
“Right now, it depends on what you mean by containment. If you think that we have it completely under control, we don’t,” Fauci admitted.
He continued, “If you look at the dynamics of the outbreak, and we have seen a diminution of hospitalizations and infections in some places such as in New York City — which is plateauing starting to come done — and New Orleans.”
Fauci went on to reveal that while there have been slight declines in some areas, there are other areas of the country facing spikes in coronavirus cases.
“But, in other parts of the country, we are seeing spikes. So when you look at the dynamics of new cases, even though some are coming down, the curve looks flat with some slight coming down. So, I think we’re going in the right direction but the right direction does not mean we have by any means total control of this outbreak.”
See Warren and Fauci’s exchange below:
Dr. Fauci said the US does not have “total control” of the coronavirus pandemic yet.— CNN (@CNN) May 12, 2020
“If you think that we have it completely under control, we don’t,” he told Sen. Elizabeth Warren in the Senate hearing on the White House’s response to the crisis. https://t.co/CaSFWqJw97 pic.twitter.com/3SZ91Wwbqg
Warren went on to express concern about the current statistics, noting that the U.S. is continuing to set unprecedented public health records. As it stands, the country is currently averaging approximately 25,000 new cases and an estimated 2,000 deaths each day, as Warren notes.
The Democratic senator asked Fauci about the hypothetical outcome the U.S. could be facing without the continuation of proper mitigation efforts — continued social distancing, adequate testing, and contact tracing.
“If we don’t do better on testing, on contact tracing and on social distancing, will deaths from coronavirus necessarily increase?” Warren asked.
Fauci warned that the will definitely be the “deleterious consequence” of higher infection rates and more deaths if adequate response efforts are not in place.
“Of course. If you do not do an adequate response, we will have the deleterious consequence of more infections and more deaths. That’s the reason why you quoted me, senator, quite correctly, everything you said. And I will stand by that. If we do not respond in an adequate way when the fall comes, given that it is without a doubt that there will be infections that will be in the community, that we run the risk of having a resurgence. I would hope by that point in time in the fall we have more than enough to respond adequately. But if we don’t, there will be problems.”
While the president and multiple members of his administration have repeatedly declared that the U.S. coronavirus outbreak is under control and testing capacity far exceeds the efforts of other countries.
During the hearing, Fauci warned that states face a risk of triggering an outbreak if they do not follow the coronavirus guidelines for safe reopening.