Without a national effort to adhere to preventative measures, it will be impossible to predict how much longer the Covid-19 pandemic will last in the United States, according to the country's top infectious disease doctor.
The US is seeing a resurgence of coronavirus infections after states began reopening their economies, with the number of cases now at more than 4.4 million and the death toll at 152,075, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation increased its forecast to 219,864 total deaths by November, in part because the nation continues to debate measures like wearing masks and social distancing.
The thing we need to do is we need to pull out all the stops to get it down to baseline and to keep it there by doing the things that we've been talking about -- that I've been talking about -- consistently," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Thursday during CNN's coronavirus town hall.
Regularly taking such precautions is especially important given that a backlog in getting test results is rendering some coronavirus testing practically useless.
"It shouldn't be acceptable" that US testing is so backlogged, assistant Secretary for Health at the US Department of Health and Human Services Adm. Brett Giroir said Thursday.
While he said about 25% of tests give results in about 15 minutes, most take days. Giroir said his goal is for all tests to be "sensitive and specific and back within 15 minutes."
But, he said, "you can't test your way out of this," and people should wear masks, avoid crowds and avoid being indoors with others.