Top US disease expert cautiously optimistic as infections ‘start to level off’

Dr. Anthony Fauci pointed to recent New York statistics that show new coronavirus cases in hospitals are on the decline.

By Aaron Sull, World Israel News

Despite a tough week of record-high coronavirus deaths, the spread of the disease is showing signs of leveling off, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the federal government’s top infectious disease expert.

In a Sunday interview on CNN’s “State of the Union With Jake Tapper,” Fauci pointed to recent statistics from New York, the hardest hit area of the country, which show new coronavirus cases in hospitals are on the decline.

“At the same time that a place like the New York metropolitan area had a really terrible, terrible week of suffering and death, nonetheless the indications of that part of this machine that drives this outbreak is starting to level off,” Fauci told Tapper.

As of Monday, 550,000 Americans have tested positive for coronavirus and 21,733 people have died from it, according to recent data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

New York State has been the epicenter of coronavirus deaths, with more than 700 deaths recorded daily for the past six days, bringing the total number of fatalities to 9,385.

Fauci also said that American lives could have been saved if coronavirus safety precautions were instituted earlier.

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“I mean, obviously, you could logically say that if you had a process that was ongoing and you started mitigation earlier, you could have saved lives,” Fauci said.

“Obviously, if we had, right from the very beginning, shut everything down, it may have been a little bit different. But there was a lot of pushback about shutting things down,” he added.

The New York Times reports that Fauci, along with top public health experts, White House advisers and intelligence agencies, advised Trump back in February to take aggressive action against the coronavirus before it wreaked havoc in the country.

However, Trump was “slow to absorb the scale of the risk,” and was more concerned about “protecting gains in the economy” and “batting away warnings from senior officials,” the report said.

Trump hit back shortly afterward by tweeting, “Story is a fake, just like the ‘paper’ itself. I was criticized for moving too fast when I issued the China Ban, long before most others wanted to do so.”

Trump took Fauci’s comments personally. The president re-tweeted today a call to fire Fauci by Republican congressional candidate DeAnna Lorraine.

“Fauci is now saying that had Trump listened to the medical experts earlier he could’ve saved more lives,” Lorraine tweeted. “Fauci was telling people on February 29th that there was nothing to worry about and it posed no threat to the U.S. at large. Time to #Fire Fauci.”