Responding to a question from Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Dr. Anthony Fauci testified before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Tuesday that he wouldn’t be surprised if the U.S. reached a rate of 100,000 new coronavirus cases per day, up from its current rate of 40,000 new cases per day.
ELIZABETH WARREN: Dr. Fauci, the last time you were before this committee, you told me that if the US did not have, quote, "an adequate response, that the country would, quote, "have the deleterious consequences of more infections and more deaths." Now, I know that we've made some progress, but half-measures won't save lives.
Dr. Fauci, I'm asking you to be very direct with all of us on this. If we don't fully implement the widespread testing, contact tracing programs, and social distancing practices that everyone seems to agree that we need, can we expect these spikes in infection to keep happening in different places around the country?
ANTHONY FAUCI: Thank you, Senator. I'm always direct with you, and I'll tell you in direct answer to your question that if you look at what's going on and just look at some of the film clips that you've seen of people congregating, often without masks, of being in crowds, and jumping over, and avoiding, and not paying attention to the guidelines that we very carefully put out, we are 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. And that gets back--
ELIZABETH WARREN: OK. So if we don't get our act together, more and more communities around the country are going to see these dangerous surges of COVID-19. Dr. Fauci, back in March, you also said, quote, "looking at what we're seeing now," you expected there to be between 100,000 and 200,000 coronavirus deaths and millions of infections in the US.
So let's flash forward to late June. Here we are at the end of June. We've already seen 126,000 deaths with infection rates rising rapidly. Dr. Fauci, based on what you're seeing now, how many COVID-19 deaths and infections should America expect before this is all over?
ANTHONY FAUCI: I can't make an accurate prediction, 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. I made that point very clearly last week at a press conference. We can't just focus on those areas that are having the surge. It puts the entire country at risk.
We are now having 40,000-plus new cases a day. 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.
ELIZABETH WARREN: Can you make any kind of estimate on what we're looking at overall on the number of deaths before this is over? You made an estimate back in March, between 100,000 and 200,000, but we have a lot more information now. So we're already at 126,000 deaths.
ANTHONY FAUCI: Right. I can't make an estimation because that would have to be modeled out, because when models are done-- and that's where those original numbers came from, Senator-- as I've said very often, models are as good as the assumptions that you put into the model. And those assumptions often change, depending upon what your response is.
So I would really be hesitant to give a number that will come back and either be contradicted and overblown or underblown. But I think it's important to tell you, and the American public, that I'm very concerned because it could get very bad.