WASHINGTON — The nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told senators Tuesday that if the spread of the novel coronavirus continues on its current trajectory, the number of new cases reported nationwide could more than double to 100,000 new cases each day.
"We are now having 40-plus-thousand new cases a day," Fauci said during a hearing on reopening schools and workplaces shuttered by the coronavirus pandemic. "I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around, and so I am very concerned."
He emphasized that people should not be gathering in crowds without masks or ignoring public health guidance issued to stymie the spread of the coronavirus.
"We're going to continue to be in a lot of trouble and there's going to be a lot of hurt if that does not stop," he said.
His comments came after the U.S. reported its biggest jump in new daily coronavirus cases Friday with more than 40,000 new cases reported nationwide, according to CNN. Officials in many states, particularly in the South and the West, have recently noted spikes in new coronavirus cases. The numbers have prompted officials in Texas, Arizona, Florida, California and other states to pause or roll back reopening plans.
Fauci said Tuesday that he couldn't yet predict what the death toll from the novel coronavirus will ultimately be nationwide, "but it is going to be very disturbing. I will guarantee you that, because when you have an outbreak in one part of the country, even though in other parts of the country they're doing well, they are vulnerable."
Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, more than 2.6 million people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and about 130,000 people have died, according to officials.