Dr. Fauci Issues Serious Warning As COVID Infections Decrease

It's been a while since America has seen the number of COVID-19 cases fall well below the six-figure peak. But while the country is looking at a significant decline in new coronavirus infections, and with The New York Times reporting a 44 percent drop in cases, pandemic expert Dr. Anthony Fauci says we should be far from becoming complacent, especially since the current numbers still mean tens of thousands are still getting sick every day.

In an appearance on NBC's Meet the Press, Dr. Fauci said the decline in the number of new coronavirus cases did not mean that we can all breathe a sigh of relief and resume our normal lives. As Fauci warned, "We're not [out of the woods yet] because the baseline of daily infections is still very, very high." Fauci also added that the levels were "not the 300,000 to 400,000 that we had some time ago, but we want to get that baseline really, really, really low before we start thinking that we are out of the woods" (via CNBC). 

The dip in the number of coronavirus cases coincides with the first anniversary of the pandemic, and a total U.S. death toll of just over 500,000 (via NBC News). The New York Times, which keeps a coronavirus tracker, also says about 12 percent of the country has received the first of the two-dose vaccine, and five percent are fully vaccinated.

Dr. Fauci says we'll need to keep wearing masks for the foreseeable future

Dr. Anthony Fauci's warnings about the virus came just as Johns Hopkins School of Medicine professor Marty Makary wrote an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal predicting that the United States might achieve some kind of herd immunity by April. His prognosis was based on the fact that many people have now been infected, many have displayed mild or no symptoms, and at the current rates, COVID-19, in his words, "will be mostly gone by April, allowing Americans to resume normal life."

Because Fauci isn't sure about what is driving the drop in cases — whether it is herd immunity or whether the vaccines are starting to kick in, he feels it's best to play it safe for now, and by that he means getting the vaccine and keeping masks on for the foreseeable future — possibly into 2022. He told CNN that "as we get into the fall and the winter [of 2021], by the end of the year, I agree with [President Joe Biden] completely that we will be approaching a degree of normality."