White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday that a second wave of coronavirus infections “is not inevitable,” but stressed that people should continue following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to curb the spread of the contagion.
Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was asked by CNN’s Jim Sciutto if Americans should have confidence in the government’s handling of the pandemic.
“It’s getting better and better, Jim,” Fauci said. “I’m feeling better about it as we go by with the weeks that go by, and we see that we’re getting more and more capability of testing. The CDC is putting more of a workforce out there to help us do the kinds of identification, isolation, and contact tracing. I feel better and better that we’re capable of doing that.”
“People who are out there frolicking need to realize that when you do that, and you see no negative effect in one week, please don’t be overconfident because the effect of spreading is not going to be seen for two, three, maybe even more weeks,” Dr. Anthony Fauci says. pic.twitter.com/jLp7ZdWI8w
— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) May 27, 2020
Fauci warned in April that if we didn’t “put into place all of the countermeasures that you need to address this,” Americans “could be in for a bad fall and a bad winter.” If states lifted restrictions too early, he said, infections could rebound and set the country back to March.
“We often talk about the possibility of a second wave, or of an outbreak when you reopen,” Fauci said Wednesday, adding: “We don’t have to accept that as an inevitability.”
“If we do the kinds of things that we’re putting in place now ― to have the workforce, the system, and the will to do the kinds of things that are the clear and effective identification, isolation and contact tracing ― we can prevent this second wave that we’re talking about,” he said. “If we do it correctly.”
With states and businesses reopening, Fauci said it’s important to watch for any upticks in infections “carefully.”
“I think the people who out there frolicking need to realize that when you do that and you see no negative effect in one week, please don’t be overconfident because the effect of spreading is not going to be seen for two, three or maybe even more weeks,” he said. “And in that time, you can have the uptick.”
People should be “prudent” and follow CDC guidelines.
Last week, Fauci advised people to “go out” for Memorial Day weekend, but to also avoid crowds, wear masks and maintain physical distance.
“Go for a run. Go for a walk. Go fishing. As long as you’re not in a crowd,” said Fauci, who said he planned to go on walks with a mask on.
There have been more than 5.1 million cases of coronavirus around the world and more than 300,000 people have died from it, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.