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Fauci says US still in first wave of coronavirus

White House disease expert issues new warning as Covid-19 cases spike, and says: 'We’re still in a first wave'

Gino Spocchia
Wednesday 17 June 2020 13:13 BST
Trump claims that Oklahoma has a very low coronavirus number

Anthony Fauci, the Trump administration’s top infectious disease expert, has warned Americans against complacency as new Covid-19 cases spike in multiple US states where lockdown measures have been eased.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAD) director argued on Tuesday that it was too soon to label new Covid-19 cases as a so-called “second wave”.

“When I look at the TV and I see pictures of people congregating at bars when the location they are indicates they shouldn’t be doing that, that’s very risky,” Dr. Fauci told The Daily Beast.

“People keep talking about a second wave,” he added. “We’re still in a first wave.”

That comes as three states - Florida, Texas and Arizona - all report record highs for new Covid-19 cases this week.

“We are seeing infections to a greater degree than they had previously seen in certain states, including states in the southwest and in the south,” said Dr. Fauci on Tuesday.

He repeated: “I don't like to talk about a second wave right now, because we haven't gotten out of our first wave.”

Dr. Fauci's comments come in contrast with the administration’s statements on Covid-19 this week, with vice president Mike Pence announcing a "great American comeback" from the coronavirus pandemic in Iowa on Tuesday.

"Thanks to the leadership of president Trump and governor Kim Reynolds and all the good people of the Hawkeye State, I’m proud to report to you, here and across America, we slowed the spread. We flattened the curve. We saved lives," said Mr Pence.

"And that’s why we’re opening up America again. We did it," he added.

Almost 2,8000 new Covid-19 cases were seen in Florida alone on Monday, which had been among the earliest to ease economic restrictions in line with White House calls to reopen.

President Trump has since chosen Florida to host the now controversial 2020 Republican national convention this summer, as concerns mount at Covid-19 in the state.

Asked whether or not he would attend Mr Trump's campaign event in Tulsa, Oklahoma, this weekend, Dr. Fauci told The Daily Beast: "I’m in a high risk category. Personally, I would not. Of course not,"

The NIAD director added: "Outside is better than inside, no crowd is better than crowd."

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