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US still ‘knee-deep’ in FIRST wave of Covid-19, Fauci warns

Unlike countries in Europe, the US failed to get the first wave of Covid-19 under control and is now ‘knee-deep’ in a new surge of it, according to the country’s top epidemic adviser Anthony Fauci.

The coronavirus situation in the US is “not very good,” Fauci said in an interview with National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins on Monday. In less than two weeks, the number of new Covid-19 cases in the country has doubled and reached record numbers, with a spike of over 57,000 recorded last week. Some people have called this a second wave of the disease, but Fauci said that was not the case.

“We are still knee-deep in the first wave of this. And I would say this would not be considered a wave; it was a surge, or resurgence, of infections superimposed on a baseline that never got down to where we wanted to go,” Fauci said.

The situation in Europe is quite different, he added, saying that European nations have managed to take their first wave of Covid-19 under control and push its spread down to the baseline.

Now they’re having little blips, as you might expect, as they try to reopen. We went up, never came down to baseline, and now we’re surging back up.

Fauci stressed that the situation needs to be addressed immediately. He said that, while measures may vary for different localities, his general advice remains the same: keep a distance between people, avoid crowds, wear masks when going outside, wash your hands often, and if you organize a social function keep the number of guests small and try to hold it outdoors.

“Those are fundamental, and everybody can do that right now,” he said.

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Covid-19 is a politically divisive issue in the US, where lockdowns and other measures intended to slow the coronavirus caused protests by people who saw them as an infringement on their civil rights. President Donald Trump voiced his support for some of these rallies, prompting his opponents to pile onto the protesters and accuse them and the president of denying science and endangering American lives.

The reaction to the anti-racism protests that have gripped the country since the death of George Floyd in May has been notably different. Some people say the threat posed by racism trumps whatever danger may come from holding mass gatherings during an epidemic, and thus opposing them is wrong.

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The US is the country hit worst by Covid-19, with almost three million identified cases and over 130,000 deaths, according to a tally by the Johns Hopkins University. The global death toll currently stands at over 538,000, with 11.6 million cases worldwide. Trump’s critics blame him for botching the national response to the pandemic.

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