On Thursday (January 7), the number of daily deaths from COVID-19 in the United States topped 4,000 for the first time since the start of the global pandemic. As the U.S. continues to see a record surge in cases, deaths, and hospitalizations, Dr. Anthony Facui, the nation's leading infectious disease expert told NPR that he expects things to get worse in the coming weeks.
"I believe, unfortunately, that it will. As we get into the next couple of weeks in January, that likely will be a reflection of the holiday season travel and the congregate settings that usually take place socially during that period of time," Dr. Fauci said. "We've seen following most events that require travel and ... have people, you know, understandably getting together in a social setting. So we believe things will get worse as we get into January."
The death toll has now climbed above 365,000 and the total number of cases stands at more than 21.5 million. The rise in cases comes as the vaccine rollout has been going slower than anticipated. Dr. Fauci said that he hopes the country can get caught up in the next couple of weeks and start vaccinating at least one million people per day.
"If we don't catch up on what the original goal was, then we really need to make some changes about what we're doing. But right now, I think we just need to give a little bit slack — not a lot, but enough to say, well, we're past the holiday season, now let's really turn the afterburners on," he said.
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