Fauci clashes with Biden Covid chief & says US does NOT need total lockdown

DR ANTHONY Fauci has clashed with Joe Biden’s incoming Covid chief, saying the US does not need a total lockdown, despite daily infections hitting a record high of 144,000.

Biden's new hire Dr Michael Osterholm said on Wednesday that another lockdown was the only way to keep hospitalizations and deaths down as the country battles more than 10 million cases.

Speaking onGood Morning America on Thursday, Fauci pushed back on another lockdown, saying it will not be necessary if Americans continued to wear masks, wash their hands, and socially distance.

He said: "We would like to stay away from that because there's no appetite for locking down the American public.

"You don't necessarily have to shut everything down. The best opposite strategy to locking down is to intensify the public health measures.

"If you can do that well, you don't have to take that step [lockdown] ... which has so many implications both psychologically and economically."

The disease expert said "help is really on the way" after news of a vaccine emerged on Monday, saying "the cavalry is coming."

"Vaccines are going to have a major positive impact," he concluded, saying everyone could access this cure by next April.

He later told a British panel via video link that the vaccine wouldn't completely "eliminate" the virus, however.

"I think we need to plan that this is something we may need to maintain control over chronically," he said. "It may be something that becomes endemic that we have to just be careful about.'

Fauci's comments came a day after 144,133 new cases were reported across the country, upping the total number of infections in the USA to 10.4million.

On Wednesday 1,893 citizens died from the deadly bug, the highest number of fatalities since May 8, surging the death toll to 241,808.

Osterholm toldCNBCa "lockdown for four-to-six weeks" was needed to get the numbers under control.

"We could pay for a package right now to cover all of the wages, lost wages for individual workers for losses to small companies to medium-sized companies or city, state, county governments," he said.

"We could do all of that. If we did that, then we could lockdown for four-to-six weeks."

Other countries like theUK,Ireland,Greece, andPortugalhave all imposed similarly tough restrictions this winter to combat the spread.

Cases are rising in 49 states in theUSAwhile Covid-19 related deaths surged in 39. 

In the Midwest,North Dakota,South DakotaandWisconsin, are experiencing a surge in coronavirus deaths while hospitalizations there are also increasing.

On Wednesday,Texasreached the awful milestone of being the first state with more than one million confirmed Covid cases, followed by California's 984,000.

In the northeast, infections are also surging at an alarming rate.

We could pay for a package right now to cover all of the wages, lost wages for individual workers for losses to small companies to medium-sized companies or city, state, county governments.
Dr Osterholm

The average positivity rate inNew York Cityreached 2.5 percent on Wednesday, leading GovernorAndrew Cuomoto close restaurants, bars and gyms by 10pm from Friday statewide.

"If these measures aren't sufficient to reduce the spread — we'll turn the valve more and part of that would be reducing the number of people indoor dining," he told reporters, after 29 patients died in-state.

Public schools – which cater to some 1.1 million pupils in NYC – will shutter if the Big Apple reaches tops a percent positivity rate and force students to return to remote learning, MayorBill de Blasioconfirmed on Thursday.

Across the George Washington Bridge inNew Jersey, The Garden State reported a whopping 3,078 new infections on Wednesday.

Governor Phil Murphy told NBC's Today a second wave of the "definitely upon us" because "everything is heading in the wrong direction."

The tri-state governors coordinated their mitigation efforts over the course of 2020 and Murphy is also closing restaurants and bars by 10pm, as well as banning all interstate games for indoor K-12 sports.   

The NJ governor took to Twitter on Thursday, writing: "Our numbers are stark and sobering, but they shouldn’t deter us from continuing to fight against this virus and our pandemic

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