Twenty-three states are reporting an increase in new coronavirus cases over the past week as the number of cases has topped seven million in the United States. That concerns Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is worried about the challenges the country will face in the fall and winter.
"Rather than say, 'A second wave,' why don't we say, 'Are we prepared for the challenge of the fall and the winter?'" Fauci said.
The number of new cases has surged following a lull at the end of the summer, as schools and colleges began to reopen, and states started to lift some of the restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the virus. As the weather gets colder, more people are likely to spend time indoors, where the virus can spread more easily.
Sixteen states are reporting a steady number of new cases, while 11 states have seen their weekly number of cases decline.
As pharmaceutical companies come closer to producing a safe and effective vaccine, Dr. Fauci cautioned that an approved vaccine does not mean the immediate end of the pandemic. He said that public health measures, such as wearing masks and social distancing, will need to continue into 2021 as it will take months to vaccinate enough people to achieve herd immunity.
"In November, you'll probably be maybe 50 million doses available. By December, maybe another 100-plus million. And then you get into January and February. By the time you get to April, it'll be a total of about 700 million," he told a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing. "They will be rolling in as the months go by, and by the time you get to maybe the third or fourth month of 2021, then you'll have doses for everyone."
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