Fauci Says No One Can Predict How Bad The Pandemic Will Get This Fall

September 9, 2020

The U.S. continues to battle a worsening coronavirus pandemic as the school year approaches and flu season approaches. Top U.S. infectious disease experts said today that no one can predict how the fall pandemic will unfold.

“I don’t know…. Nor can anyone know what fall will bring,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a question-and-answer session hosted by JAMA Network Magazine. Back in the spring, when the coronavirus was primarily ravaging the Northeast, there was talk of a “second wave” in the fall, Fauci said. That was assuming those numbers would drop to a baseline…. But they didn’t.

“You look at the numbers we have now…. We’re right here in the first wave,” he said. In the past few weeks, the U.S. has counted more than 60,000 cases a day, and in the past week, about 1,000 deaths a day.

“We have to get those numbers down, and if we don’t get them down, we’re going to have a very bad situation in the fall,” Fauci said.

That’s because as the weather cools, people start going indoors – the virus spreads more easily – and fall also marks the beginning of flu season, he said.

There are “five simple things a person can do to try and reverse this curve around so that as we go into fall we’re really at a low baseline,” Fauci said. These small number of actions, which we know from experience, can help blunt relapses and prevent new ones from occurring, he says.

The first is consistent – and correct – wearing of a mask. Studies have shown that masks have a role in preventing the spread of disease. For example, one visualization showed that cough droplets can spread up to 12 feet (3.7 meters) without a mask, but masks can limit that distance, sometimes to a few inches, according to a previous Live Science report.

The second and third are to avoid crowds and stay 6 feet (1.8 meters) or more away from you and others, he said. The fourth is to stay away from bars or places where people gather and attend events outdoors rather than indoors, he said. The fifth is to wash your hands.

If left to its own devices, the virus “will keep reviving,” Fauci says. The only way we can stop it is through this countermeasure, he added.” And it can be done. It’s not inevitable, he said, that the virus will make a comeback.”

According to the Johns Hopkins University dashboard, the country has recorded more than 4.6 million COVID-19 cases and 15,5124 deaths since the beginning of the epidemic.