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COVID-19 deaths are likely to decline this winter, but the U.S. shouldn’t declare victory over the pandemic yet, the nation’s top infectious disease expert said Sunday.
Despite falling rates, the virus can bounce back, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in television appearances.
“I strongly suspect that you’re going to start seeing the deaths go down similar to the hospitalizations,” Fauci told “Full Court Press with Greta Van Susteren.”
“How quickly they go down and how thoroughly they go down is going to depend a lot on a number of circumstances, which will be influenced by things like the colder weather, people doing things indoors, how well they go by the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines,” he said in the interview, which was aired Sunday.
New COVID cases and hospitalizations have been decreasing nationwide. The county had a seven-day average of 95,237 new cases as of Friday, down from 121,543 two weeks earlier — a decrease of more than 20% — according to USAFacts.org.
The U.S. is still seeing about 1,700 COVID deaths per day, though the rate has started to go down too.
Earlier this month, the nationwide death toll surpassed 700,000. In New York State, 34 people died of COVID on Saturday, bringing the total number of coronavirus fatalities to 55,395, according to Gov. Hochul’s office.
Fauci cautioned Americans not to let their guard down as Halloween and the holiday season approach.
“If you look at the history of the surges and the diminutions in cases over a period of time, they can bounce back,” he told CNN’s “State of the Union.”
With about 68% of adults fully vaccinated, Fauci reiterated exhortations to get jabbed.
Now is “a good time to reflect on why [getting vaccinated] is important,” he said.
Hochul echoed those remarks.
“We recently hit an important milestone of [85%] of adult New Yorkers with their first dose and we get closer to 90% every day,” she said in a Sunday statement. “The vaccine is safe, effective and readily available — if you haven’t already, get yours as soon as possible.”
Fauci said he’d like to see the daily case number fall to around 10,000 before authorities consider dropping mask requirements in indoor settings.
Coronavirus-related policies remain a work in progress throughout the country and beyond.
Last week, the CDC said the U.S. can let in travelers who gotten a vaccine authorized by the federal government or by the World Health Organization. The announcement came with travel restrictions on 33 countries set to lift in November.
On Friday, President Biden urged private businesses to implement vaccine mandates for the workplace.
“Require your employees to get vaccinated. With vaccinations, we’re going to beat this pandemic finally. Without them, we face endless months of chaos in our hospitals, damage to our economy and anxiety in our schools,” he said.