As the devastating new coronavirus surge worsens, Shepard Smith, anchor and executive editor of CNBC's "The News with Shepard Smith," has a message for friends, loved ones and viewers across the country: "Follow the Fauci."
"Those of us in New York and the Northeast are worried about you, our friends, our loved ones and our viewers across the country, now more than ever really," Smith said. "This new Covid surge is awful. So, follow the Fauci. Not for us, we are mostly good around here, we are worried for you. So please, follow the Fauci."
Smith was referring to White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. To avoid catching or transmitting Covid-19, Fauci has consistently urged the uniform wearing of masks, physical distancing, avoiding crowds, doing things outdoors much more than indoors, and frequently washing your hands.
The United States reported more than 71,600 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, approaching a record number of daily infections set in late July as the outbreak takes root across the Midwest and hospitalizations rise.
And the worst may be yet to come. The U.S. could see "staggering" numbers of coronavirus deaths in the coming months as infection rates increase during the colder months, former Food and Drug Administration chief Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC's "Closing Bell" on Friday.
"In the spring and early summer, we lived the horror of neighbors and friends sick and dying," CNBC's Smith said. "Doctors and nurses we know and admire were in the depths of depression inside hospitals with no more beds, with the freezer trucks outside full of victims whose families never got to say goodbye. We could bang our pots and pans from our windows to cheer for our heroes, but we couldn't help, except we went into lockdown."
"Our region was like a sprawling ghost town, everybody indoors." Smith said. "Thawing chicken for dinner again, and playing cards and watching Netflix ... Every day 'Groundhog Day,' missing our friends and loved ones so much, to slow the spread and end the death and suffering. And finally, it worked. We are scarred but better now — because we followed the rules and beat Covid back. We had to."
"Many of you are not doing that," Smith said, adding that "the doctors tell us you will now suffer ... Like we did, or worse, because lockdown is largely not coming to you. Scientists tell us that next month will be historically bad unless you make a personal decision to follow the Fauci. Wear a mask, socially distance, save parties and weddings for another time. Holidays apart will be hard. Start this weekend, we will get through this."
Covid-19 hospitalizations are also on the rise and reached new records across the American West and Midwest on Thursday, based on a weekly average. Former Vice President Joe Biden said during Thursday's presidential debate that the U.S. is headed for a "dark winter."