Dr. Anthony Fauci, a leading scientist on the Trump administration’s Coronavirus task force, issued a stark warning Wednesday during a House hearing about efforts to contain spread of the virus.
“Bottom line: it’s going to get worse,” Fauci told lawmakers at a House Oversight Committee hearing.
“I can say we will see more cases, and things will get worse than they are right now,” added Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Fauci avoided offering predictions about how many Americans could come down with the virus, or die from it. But he cautioned that if the U.S. government and public don’t take precaution, “many, many millions” of Americans could get sick.
As of Tuesday night, more than 1,000 Americans had tested positive for COVID-19. Thirty-one people have succumbed to the virus, which originated in China’s Wuhan province.
The Trump administration has said that the risk to the American public in general is low, but higher in some parts of the country that have seen outbreaks. Health officials have warned against the risks of large crowds, and are urging the public to practice good hygiene to slow the spread of the virus.
Fauci said that how well the U.S. deals with COVID-19 depends on the government and public’s ability to “contain the influx of people who are infected coming from outside, and the ability to contain and mitigate within our own country.”