White House Chief Medical Adviser Anthony Fauci delivers his opening statement to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Hearing on “Next Steps: The Way Forward to Respond to COVID-19” on Capitol Hill in Washington, November 4, 2021.
Elisabeth Frantz | Reuters
White House Chief Medical Adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci estimated on Tuesday that Covid-19 cases in the United States would have to drop “well below 10,000” per day to achieve some semblance of pre-pandemic life.
The United States has reported nearly 83,500 new Covid cases per day over the past week, a 14% increase from the previous week, according to a CNBC analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University. Fauci said in an interview at the 2021 STAT Summit that Covid cases may need to drop to as low as 3,300 per day for the nation to get the virus under control.
Daily infections in the United States have not fallen below 10,000 since March 2020.
“I think if we can get it well below 10,000, I think that would be a level that I think would be acceptable for us to get back to a degree of normalcy,” Fauci said. “But again, I have to warn listeners, these are not definitive statements – these are just estimates.”
Covid cases in the US stabilized between 70,000 and 75,000 a day for about three weeks before starting to rise again last weekend. Cases stabilizing at such a high level was a sign that the nation had “really poor control” of the pandemic, Fauci said, noting that the United States could be “into a bit of trouble” as winter approaches without taking proper public health precautions.
About 60 million eligible and unvaccinated adults in the country were fueling the latest surge in a Monday night interview in The News with Shepherd Smith, Fauci said. On Tuesday, he added, the booster injection would help counter new cases, hospitalizations and waning immunity to existing Covid vaccines over time.
Fauci said the highly contagious delta variant will also thrive if Covid cases remain high in the United States, affecting both the unvaccinated and the vaccinated with weakened immunity.
“Obviously, unvaccinated people are very vulnerable, but as long as you have a high dynamic of the virus in the population, you’re going to start to see superhuman infections, even more than we’re seeing now,” Fauci said.
But Fauci said that unvaccinated vaccines, boosters and indoor face coverings could help prevent the virus over the coming months and avert an outbreak similar to those currently plaguing Europe. The continent recorded nearly 2.1 million new cases of COVID-19 in the past week, an increase that the World Health Organization has blamed for declining use of masks and social distancing.
Hopkins data indicates that certain areas across the United States lead to more infections than others. The weekly average of daily new cases per capita in the Midwest and Northeast is up 31% and 19%, respectively, as of Monday, compared to increases of 12% in the South and 8% in the West.
CNBC Nate Ratner Contribute to this report.