Health and Science

Dr. Fauci on U.S. coronavirus outbreak: 'I'm not pleased with how things are going'

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, prepares to testify during a House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing in Washington, D.C., July 31, 2020.
Kevin Dietsch | Pool | Reuters

White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said he is not pleased with the current state of the Covid-19 pandemic in the United States.

U.S. public health officials are beginning to see a "disturbing" uptick in the rate of coronavirus tests that come back positive in some regions of the nation, Fauci said during a National Geographic panel moderated by ABC News Correspondent Deborah Roberts, which aired on Thursday.  "Bottom line is, I'm not pleased with how things are going."

"We certainly are not where I hope we would be, we are in the middle of very serious historic pandemic," he added. 

The U.S. has the worst outbreak in the world with more than 5 million infections and at least 166,000 deaths as of Thursday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. On Wednesday, the U.S. recorded more than 1,500 deaths caused by Covid-19, marking the deadliest day for the country since the end of May.

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has previously warned about a potential increase in Covid-19 cases brewing in states like Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky and Indiana, which have reported an uptick in the so-called positivity rate, or the percentage of tests that are positive.

While some states are beginning to see an uptick, outbreaks in California, Florida, Texas and Arizona are improving and are "having now, less deaths, less hospitalizations, less cases," Fauci said. 

VIDEO5:5005:50
Fauci: U.S. coronavirus outbreak is 'going to be very disturbing'

He the U.S. will continue to see cases rise and fall unless the federal government and states pull together. "That's the thing that I'm concerned about because I believe we can, we have within our power to be able to get that down," he said.

Fauci's comments are at odds with President Donald Trump, who said earlier this week at a White House press briefing that the outbreak in the U.S. will be in "good shape" in "a very short period of time." Trump said U.S. health officials are continuing to see "encouraging signs," touting a recent decline in cases and hospitalization in Florida and Texas.

"I do want to say that at the end of a very short period of time we will be in good shape in this country," he told reporters.

The World Health Organization says there is no "silver bullet" for the coronavirus yet and there "might never be."

The agency is urging countries to practice the "basics," including testing, isolating and treating patients and tracing and quarantining their contacts. "The message to people and governments is clear: Do it all,"  WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Aug 3.

Fauci has previously said the coronavirus is so contagious it won't likely ever completely go away. While the virus will not disappear, Fauci has previously said it's possible world leaders and public health officials could work to bring the pandemic down to "low levels."

He said the U.S. has so many cases because some states did not shut down early in the outbreak while others reopened too soon. He said other countries were able to eliminate their first wave of outbreaks after shutting down at least 90% of their nonessential businesses.