“We need to hunker down and get through this fall and winter because it’s not going to be easy,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday.
“I keep looking at that curve and I get more depressed and more depressed about the fact that we never really get down to the baseline that I’d like,” he said.
As the weather gets colder, the activities Americans enjoy will likely move indoors, where the virus can spread more easily.
Where we stand now
Across the US, 28 states are reporting downward trends in their cases — including Florida and California — compared to the previous week and 14 states are trekking steady.
“I don’t think it’ll take much to really bring us back up to 70,000 new cases a day,” Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, previously told CNN.
Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, urged people to get tested after the holiday weekend if they socialized closely to avoid further community spread.
An ensemble forecast from the CDC now projects that between 205,000 and 217,000 people in the US will die by October 3.
Here’s what will help
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, told CBS earlier this week the likelihood a vaccine will be widely accessible this year is “extremely low.”
But until the US has a vaccine, there are still ways to help curb the spread of the virus.
Face coverings remain the most powerful tool to fight transmission.
According to one expert, the country’s greatest error in the pandemic was not getting enough Americans to wear masks.
“When you look at countries where the mortality is a fraction of what it is in the United States, the common theme from the very beginning of the pandemic was universal masking,” Dr. Jonathan Reiner, CNN medical analyst and professor of medicine at George Washington University, said.
Infected college students shouldn’t be sent home
The University of Texas at Austin announced this week they have three confirmed clusters on campus which collectively account for about 100 positive cases of the virus. San Diego State University confirmed nearly 400 infections among students earlier this week, several days after announcing a halt on in-person instruction.
And more than 1,300 Arizona State University students have tested positive for the virus since August 1.
Colleges and universities should try to isolate infected students instead of sending them home, Fauci has said.
“You send them back to their community, you will in essence be reseeding with individuals who are capable of transmitting infection, many communities throughout the country,” he said earlier this week.
“So it’s much, much better to have the capability to put them in a place where they could comfortably recover.”
The White House coronavirus task force placed a sharper focus on colleges and universities in its recommendations to states this week, pushing for measures to prevent further outbreaks as the school year begins.
CNN reached out to all 50 states for their weekly task force reports, which the White House has declined to make public, and obtained responses from 12 states as of Friday morning. This week’s report, sent to states Tuesday evening, was directed to governors and their senior staff, as well as health officials, emergency managers, epidemiologists, lab directors and preparedness directors for each state.
The reports, individually tailored to each state with information on cases, test positivity and county-specific data, show concern about the virus spreading among institutes of higher education and mitigating cases in surrounding towns. The task force stressed that students who have been infected or exposed should isolate on campus and not return home.
CNN’s Shelby Lin Erdman, Gisela Crespo, Kay Jones and Lauren Mascarenhas contributed to this report.