NEW YORK: As US coronavirus infections per day surged to an all-time high of 40,000, America’s top infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci renewed his call to the country’s youth going maskless, partying on beaches and crowded indoor spaces to be conscious about their “societal responsibility” and not put the most vulnerable population at heightened risk of Covid-19 infection.
The coronavirus has killed more than 124,000 Americans and infected more than 2.4 million. The US is currently recording 38.03 deaths per 100,000 population and a 5 per cent case fatality ratio.
Texas reported more than 17,000 new cases in the past three days. In Florida, the daily number of new cases neared 9,000, almost doubling a record set earlier this week.
“I think what we’re missing in this is something that we’ve never faced before. Is that a risk for you is not just isolated to you. Because if you get infected. You are part innocently or inadvertently of propagating the dynamic process of a pandemic,” Fauci urged during a White House coronavirus task force briefing Friday, the first one in nearly two months.
The largest increase in test positives are coming from Texas and Arizona followed by Florida, Mississippi, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Nevada and Utah. One of the hard-hit areas is Phoenix, where thousands of young attendees, nearly all maskless, thronged US president Donald Trump’s rally.
Coronavirus fatalities in the US are currently at around 600 per day, down from a mid-April peak of 2,200. White House task force officials pointed today to the age profile of new cases as an upside, based on current knowledge of survival rates: More than 50 per cent of new cases are concentrated in the under 35 age category.
Fauci said he’s never seen anything like the coronavirus in terms of its range of symptoms from 40 per cent asymptomatic to the other extreme of intubation and death.
“Depending on where you are in that spectrum, you have a different attitude to this particular thing, but anyone who gets infected or is at risk of getting infected to a greater or lesser degree is part of the dynamic process of the outbreak,” Fauci reminded Americans.
Drawing from the US disease pattern from January, Fauci repeatedly made the case that the coronavirus must be understood as a chain of “intimately interconnected” events despite the country’s heterogeneous nature.
“So, people are infecting other people, and then ultimately you will infect someone who’s vulnerable. And that may be somebody’s grandmother, grandfather, uncle who’s on radiation or chemotherapy or a child who has leukaemia”, he said.
According to US officials, 20 million Americans have likely been infected with the coronavirus since it first arrived in the United States in early January and that the vast majority of the population remains susceptible.
New confirmed infections this week, according to Johns Hopkins University, eclipsed the previous high of 36,400, on April 24.The White House said it is tracking the rate of increase in new cases at the county level and about 130 counties out of the 3100 in the United States are of concern.
Fauci’s “plea” to Americans, especially the youth, centered on the interconnected nature of the domestic outbreak. “So, remember, what happened in China affected us. What happened in Europe affected us. What’s happening here is affecting others, we can’t get away from that.”
“We are all in it together”, Fauci said. “And the only way we’re going to end it is by ending it together.”