America’s doctor offered an inspiring bedside message of hope as the nation faces the deadliest days and weeks of the coronavirus pandemic.
Dr. Anthony Fauci calmly told Americans on Tuesday that we can “get over this” if we continue to observe strict shutdowns and social distancing.
“We really have to hang in there,” Fauci told CNN. “So let’s all hang in there together. We will get over this and this will end.”
Even as he suggested that the Centers for Disease Control may order all Americans to wear masks outside, Fauci said the strategy so far is working as well as could be expected.
“We do believe it’s working. It’s hard. It’s not an easy thing to do,” he said. “There’s suffering and there’s death and there’s massive inconvenience economically and otherwise. But we’re really a strong nation. We’ve been through some amazing things in our history.”
Fauci made news by saying that the national coronavirus task force will discuss a possible recommendation about requiring face covering. He said such an edict would only be made if and when medical personnel have enough protective masks, since they are at highest risk.
He also reiterated his pushback against promoting possible treatments for the pandemic, including the anti-malarial drug that President Donald Trump and his supporters are promoting.
The doctor said firmly that there is still no evidence that chloroquine actually works to battle the deadly virus.
“There’s no definitive evidence that this works,” Fauci said pointedly.
The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus climbed past 3,600 Tuesday, eclipsing China’s official count, as hard-hit New York City rushed to bring in more medical professionals and ambulances and parked refrigerated morgue trucks on the streets to collect the dead.
The crisis hit close to home for Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who reported teary-eyed that his brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, was infected.
Elsewhere around the world, hard-hit Italy reported that the infection rate appears to be leveling off and new cases could start declining, but that the crisis is far from over. Spain struggled to fend off the collapse of its hospital system. Vladimir Putin’s Russia moved to crack down on quarantine violations and “fake news” about the outbreak. And China edged closer to normal as stores in the epicenter city of Wuhan began reopening.
Worldwide, more than 800,000 people have been infected and over 40,000 have died, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University. Italy and Spain accounted for half the deaths, while the U.S. had over 180,000 infections, with more dead than China’s official toll of about 3,300.
New York was the nation’s deadliest hot spot, with about 1,550 deaths statewide, most of them in New York City, which braced for things to get much worse in the coming weeks.
Louisiana and Michigan were running out of ventilators, despite promises by the White House of more equipment.
Louisiana’s governor said the hard-hit New Orleans region is on track to run out of breathing machines by the weekend and hospital beds a week later. The Trump administration has committed to sending 150 ventilators from the national stockpile, but the state hasn’t received an arrival date. Michigan said it needs 5,000 to 10,000 more.
Meanwhile, a senior military general said the Pentagon has not yet delivered any of the 2,000 ventilators it offered to the Department of Health and Human Services two weeks ago because HHS has asked it to wait while the agency determines where the devices should go.
In Florida, the Holland America cruise line pleaded with state officials to let two ships dock and carry off the sick and the dead. Dozens aboard have reported flu-like symptoms, and four people have died.
But Gov. Ron DeSantis said on Fox News: “We cannot afford to have people who are not even Floridians dumped into South Florida using up those valuable resources.”
The Associated Press contributed to this story