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Dr. Fauci Warns COVID "Threat is Much, Much Greater"

Cooler weather is already causing a surge of COVID-19 cases.

Americans have "got to get our act together" in fighting the coronavirus, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious-disease expert, in accepting an award from the National Italian-American Foundation on Oct. 31. After weeks of steadily rising COVID-19 cases, 100,000 new daily cases were reported for the first time on Wednesday.

Health officials have expressed concern that Americans are feeling "COVID fatigue" and have become lax about public health recommendations about mask-wearing and avoiding gatherings, which are especially crucial as cooler weather forces people indoors, where the virus is more easily spread.

"Many states are starting to rebound now, and that's very dangerous as we go into the cooler months of the fall," said Fauci. "The threat and the risk of having a resurgence of cases is much, much greater." Read on to hear more of his warning, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.

'There will be an end to this'

But Fauci said there is a light at the end of the tunnel. "There will be an end to this. We're going to get a vaccine, and the vaccine is going to diminish the infection rate. That, together with good public health measures, we will get back gradually to some form of normality, little by little." He added: "So, we've really got to get our act together and start all across the board, uniformly, doing those public health measures of uniform wearing of masks, keep a physical distance, avoid crowds."

In a live chat on Twitter and Facebook last week, Fauci said the first round of a coronavirus vaccine would likely be available to vulnerable Americans in late December or early January. Data from the first late-stage trial, conducted by the manufacturer Moderna, is expected this month. 

But health officials including Fauci have emphasized that preventative measures like mask-wearing and social distancing may be necessary throughout 2021, as most people won't be able to be vaccinated before the middle of the year, and it's unclear how effective any approved vaccine might be. 

Fauci has said that American life will likely not reapproach pre-COVID normality until late 2021.

RELATED: Dr. Fauci Says You Don't Have to Do This Anymore to Avoid COVID

How to stay healthy

In October, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation estimated that U.S. deaths from coronavirus could surpass 394,000 by Feb. 1. But if face mask-wearing becomes universal, 79,000 lives could be saved. As for yourself, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Wear your face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor. Read more about Michael
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