“Rather than say, ‘A second wave,’ why don’t we say, ‘Are we prepared for the challenge of the fall and the winter?'” Fauci said.
As of early Friday morning, 23 states across the country’s heartland and Midwest reported an increase of new cases compared to the previous week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. About 16 states were trekking steady. Eleven states saw a decline — Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont and Virginia.
How to prepare
Cities, counties and states that have managed to bring their Covid-19 cases down should now work to prevent “surges that inevitably will occur if you’re not doing the kinds of public health measures that we’re talking about,” according to Fauci.
Those measures include what experts have for months vouched for: face coverings, hand-washing and avoiding crowds.
About 12 states are now seeing mask usage rates above 50%, according to researchers from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME). Those include California, Colorado, Florida, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.
“If we listen to the public health measures, not only would we diminish the effect of Covid-19, we might get away with a very, very light flu season if we combine that with getting the flu vaccine,” Fauci said.
Skepticism of Covid-19 vaccine an ‘enormous’ problem
While vaccines for Covid-19 are being tested, the growing skepticism around them is becoming an “enormous” problem, according to Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
It’s a problem, Schaffner says, “because once we do develop a vaccine, obviously we want people to accept it, but there’s growing skepticism … in the general population.”
Fauci said Thursday he would back scientists at the FDA on whatever their decision is regarding approving a Covid-19 vaccine or giving it an emergency use authorization.
“These are respected, trained people who are much better at models and statistics and all that other stuff than any of us are,” he said during an online conversation with CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta organized by Emory University.
“If they look at it and say, ‘We really feel strongly we should go this way,’ I would back the scientists. I would have to do that, as a scientist, and I would express that.”
CNN’s Lauren Mascarenhas and Shelby Lin Erdman contributed to this report.