The U.S. is “going in the wrong direction” with the coronavirus surging badly enough that Dr. Anthony Fauci told senators Tuesday some regions are putting the entire country at risk — just as schools and colleges are wrestling with how to safely reopen.
With about 40,000 new cases being reported a day, Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, said he “would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around.”
“I am very concerned,” he told a hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee.
Infections are rising rapidly mostly in parts of the West and South, and Fauci and other public health experts said Americans everywhere will have to start following key recommendations if they want to get back to more normal activities like going to school.
In other developments:
- Fauci and CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield criticized American Airlines' decision to pack flights full while the coronavirus outbreak continues to grow across much of the United States. Several U.S. airlines say they are limiting capacity on planes to between 60% and 67% of all seats. However, United Airlines never promised to leave seats empty, and American said last week that starting Wednesday it would drop its effort to keep half of all middle seats empty.
- A resurgence of confirmed COVID cases across the South and West — and the suspension or reversal of re-openings of bars, hotels, restaurants and other businesses — is endangering hopes for an economic rebound in the region and perhaps nationally. At stake are the jobs of millions of people who have clung to hopes that their layoffs from widespread business shutdowns this spring would prove short-lived.
- Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Congress that the administration wants the next round of economic aid to focus supporting businesses like restaurants that have been hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis. Mnuchin said he is already talking to lawmakers about getting another round of relief approved by the end of July.
- The nation's top health officials are banking on a new approach to dramatically boost U.S. screening for the coronavirus: combining test samples in batches instead of running them one by one. The potential benefits include stretching laboratory supplies, reducing costs and expanding testing to millions more Americans who may unknowingly be spreading the virus.
- The European Union will reopen its borders to travelers from 14 countries, and possibly China soon, the bloc announced Tuesday, but most Americans have been refused entry for at least another two weeks due to soaring coronavirus infections in the U.S.
- Baseball's minor leagues officially canceled their seasons on Tuesday after Major League Baseball decided not to provide any players to its affiliated teams amid the coronavirus pandemic.