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The U.S. has the worst coronavirus outbreak in the world: ‘The numbers don’t lie,’ Dr. Fauci says

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci participates in a roundtable with U.S. President Donald Trump on donating plasma during a visit to the American Red Cross National Headquarters in Washington, U.S., July 30, 2020.

Carlos Barria | Reuters

White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci agreed on Wednesday that the United States has the worst coronavirus outbreak in the world, pointing to the nation’s high number of Covid-19 infections and deaths. 

“Yeah, it is quantitatively if you look at it, it is. I mean the numbers don’t lie,” Fauci said when asked during an interview with CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta whether the U.S. had the world’s worst coronavirus outbreak.

The U.S., which accounts for less than 5% of the world population, leads all other countries in global coronavirus infections and deaths. The nation represents more than 22% of global coronavirus deaths and more than 25% of infections as of Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

“Every country has suffered. We, the United States, has suffered … as much or worse than anyone,” Fauci said during the interview with CNN and the Harvard School of Public Health. “I mean when you look at the number of infections and the number of deaths, it really is quite concerning.” 

When the U.S. was hit with the coronavirus earlier this year, it didn’t respond in a coordinated effort, Fauci said. The nation was able to bring cases down to a plateau of 20,000 new infections per day, which Fauci said wasn’t an adequate “baseline” figure and allowed the virus to resurge in some states across the country as they reopened. 

“We can do much better, and we can do much better without locking down and I think that strange binary approach, either you lockdown or you let it all fly, there’s some place in the middle when we can open the economy and still avoid these kind of surges that we’re seeing,” Fauci said. 

Fauci reiterated that the U.S. needs a unified response and that people of all ages, including young people, have to work to suppress coronavirus outbreaks across the country. 

“Any demographic group that’s not seriously trying to get to the endgame of suppressing this, it will continue to smolder and smolder and smolder,” he said. 

Fauci’s comments are at odds with President Donald Trump’s suggestion during a contentious interview with Axios’ Jonathan Swan that the nation is “lower than the world” in “numerous categories.” Swan asked Trump who insisted the U.S. has a handle on the virus how he could make that claim as it kills 1,000 Americans a day.

When Swan tried comparing death as a proportion of population, Trump said “you can’t do that … you have to go by the cases.”

“They are dying. That’s true, and — it is what it is,” Trump said. “But that doesn’t mean we aren’t doing everything we can.”

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