DETROIT – The top medical experts in the nation gave an ominous warning about how people ignoring coronavirus (COVID-19) safety measures and packing into bars have the country going in the wrong direction.
With cases rising in the majority of states, the government’s medical experts testified Tuesday before a Senate committee. They answered questions about reopening schools, wearing masks and what can be done to reverse the spikes.
It was easy to see the frustration on the faces of the doctors. They testified that we’ve learned a lot about how to help contain COVID-19, but too many people and too many states are ignoring the guidelines. That’s creating a major hurdle to reopening.
“I feel very strongly we need to do whatever we can to get the children back to school,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said. “I think we are in lock agreement about that.”
But Fauci said that will depend on the level of cases in each community.
“The numbers speak for themselves,” Fauci said. “I’m very concerned. I’m not satisfied with what’s going on because we’re going in the wrong direction.”
He stressed a need for a nationwide approach to fighting the coronavirus.
“We can’t just focus on those areas that are having a surge,” Fauci said. “It puts the entire country at risk. We are now having 40,000-plus new cases a day. I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around.”
Many experts expressed strong support for wearing masks.
“There is more and more data showing that face coverings and masks are an effective way to prevent transmission,” Fauci said.
He is especially concerned by images of young people crowding together in bars.
“Congregation in a bar, inside, is bad news,” Fauci said. “We really need to stop that.”
He urged everyone to see the recommended safety measures not as an obstruction to reopening, but as a means to get there.
“We’ve got to get that message out that we are all in this together, and if we are going to contain this, we’ve got to contain it together,” Fauci said.
Experts also expressed concern about the upcoming flu season, saying it will be critical to get more people vaccinated to reduce cases of that virus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has already purchased 7.1 million doses of flu vaccine. Normally, it buys about 500,000.
They also addressed reports of a new swine flu detected in China. It’s called “G-4,” and it’s a new mutated version of the swine flu that has been discovered in pigs in China. Fauci said it’s not an immediate threat, but something they’re watching closely.