Fauci said that the U.S. had plateaued at a high level of infection, with 50,000 to 60,000 new COVID-19 cases reported daily. “What we’re likely seeing is because of things like spring break and pulling back on the mitigation methods that you’ve seen,” he said. “Several states have done that. I believe it’s premature.”
He added: “When you’re coming down from a big peak and you reach a point and start to plateau, once you stay at that plateau, you’re really in danger of a surge coming up. And unfortunately, that’s what we’re starting to see.”
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The Third Wave a Threat to the U.S.
That plateau-surge pattern happened in Europe, which is in the midst of the third wave of infections and lockdowns, driven by a more contagious coronavirus variant out of the United Kingdom. The U.S. is also contending with several rapidly spreading virus variants; Fauci described the drive to vaccinate enough Americans as “almost a race.”
Loosened Restrictions Are to Blame
“We take the variants seriously and are concerned, but it isn’t only the variants” that are driving cases in the U.S., he said, emphasizing that loosened restrictions and spring travel was also to blame.
Fauci added that if the country keeps up its current pace of 3 million to 3.5 million vaccinations a day, it might be safe to relax restrictions on socializing and group activities by the summer.
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How to Survive This Pandemic
As for yourself, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Wear a face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.