Coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci on Tuesday issued a stark warning to lawmakers on Capitol Hill, saying the US could see new cases of coronavirus rising to a level of 100,000 a day.
"We are now having 40-plus thousand new cases a day. I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around and so I am very concerned," Fauci told the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee during a hearing on the pandemic, according to CNN.
Fauci expressed dismay over people congregating in crowds and not wearing masks and inadequate attention being paid to guidelines on reopening.
"We're going to continue to be in a lot of trouble, and there's going to be a lot of hurt if that does not stop," he said.
The urgent message came during a hearing on the latest efforts by the US government to contain the pandemic, as several states struggle to contain the virus amid rising cases and state reopenings.
The US reported more than 40,000 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, its biggest daily jump yet.
Asked if the pandemic is under control, Fauci said, "I am not satisfied with what's going on because we are going in the wrong direction if you look at the curves of the new cases, so we've really got to do something about that and we need to do it quickly. Clearly we are not in total control right now."
Fauci said that he can't make an accurate prediction of the number of cases and deaths the US will see before the pandemic is over, but said, "It's going to be very disturbing, I will guarantee you that."
Fauci spoke of the across-the-board importance of wearing masks.
"We are all in this together," he said, adding, "We recommend masks for everyone on the outside, anyone who comes into contact in a crowded area. You should avoid crowds where possible and when you're outside and not have the capability of maintaining distance, you should wear a mask at all times."
Fauci last week warned Congress that the United States faces "historic" challenges with the coronavirus and that Americans should brace for a lengthy battle against the pandemic.
Previously, he said the United States does not require more widespread lockdowns to get its COVID-19 outbreak under control.