Fauci said that a recent University of Washington model projection that estimated the country could see another 200,000 deaths by March 1st might be accurate if Americans don’t change their behavior between now and then.
“The models, as I have said so often, are as good as the assumptions you put into the model. And we have got to change those assumptions,” Fauci said. “We have got to say, we are going to turn it around very, very vigorously adhering to the public-health measures. And we don’t need to get to that number.”
The country reported more than 153,400 new cases on Thursday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. That’s the third-straight record one-day spike in cases in the U.S and has pushed the seven-day average of new cases over 131,400, up more than 32% compared with a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of Hopkins data.
It’s not just cases. There are currently more than 67,000 people hospitalized with Covid-19 across the country, more than at any other point during the pandemic, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project, which is run by journalists at The Atlantic. The number of people dying every day from the disease is ticking upward as well.
“You can assume that we’ll get protection at least to take us through this cycle,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an appearance on a live-streamed video conference hosted by the National Institutes of Health.
“We’re still knee-deep in the first wave” of the pandemic, Fauci said. Health officials are assuming a shot would offer a degree of protection, though it’s likely “going to be finite.”