Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, recently named seven Midwest states that he believes should be on high alert for the novel coronavirus over Labor Day weekend.
The states Fauci named were North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Arkansas, Missouri, Indiana, and Illinois.
“There are several states that are at risk for surging, namely North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Arkansas, Missouri, Indiana, Illinois,” Fauci said during an interview with Bloomberg. “Those states are starting to see an increase in the percent positive of their testing; that is generally predictive that there’s going to be a problem.”
According to a coronavirus tracker from Johns Hopkins University, among the seven states that Fauci warned should be on high alert, Illinois has the most confirmed cases, with at least 241,704. Across the other states, there are currently at least 96,854 cases in Indiana, 89,639 in Missouri, 67,692 in Iowa, 63,081 in Arkansas, 14,337 in South Dakota and 12,977 in North Dakota.
In addition to having the most confirmed cases across the seven states on Fauci’s high alert radar, Illinois also has the most deaths, with at least 8,324, according to the tracker. Johns Hopkins reports at least 3,332 deaths in Indiana, 1,586 in Missouri, 1,137 in Iowa, 861 in Arkansas, 169 in South Dakota and 150 in North Dakota.
As the novel coronavirus has continued to spread throughout the U.S., holiday weekends, like the upcoming Labor Day, have been linked to spikes of cases in certain states.
“If we’re careless about it, then we could wind up with a surge following Labor Day,” Fauci added during his interview with Bloomberg. “It really depends on how we behave as a country.”
According to Bloomberg, Fauci participated in a call this week with Vice President Mike Pence and several governors to warn them about the potential for spikes in cases during the upcoming weekend, urging them to follow guidance on mask wearing and social distancing measures to mitigate the spread.
The ongoing pandemic has forced a number of states to impose mask mandates, in an effort to mitigate the spread, but four out of the seven states Fauci named do not currently have a mask mandate. These states include Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota and Missouri.
On Tuesday, ADM Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for health under President Donald Trump’s administration, suggested that if Americans wear masks and follow social distancing measures over the upcoming holiday weekend, “we’re going to be in really good shape going into the fall”.
Across the U.S., the novel virus continues to spread, as there are currently over 6.1 million confirmed cases and at least 186,806 deaths, according to the tracker from Johns Hopkins University.
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