Fauci Says Parts of U.S. 'On Fire' With Coronavirus

Dr. Anthony Fauci, a leading immunologist and White House coronavirus task force member, has said some parts of the U.S. are "on fire" when it comes to the coronavirus outbreak.

In an interview with the Reuters news agency on Wednesday, White House correspondent Jeff Mason asked Fauci if he thought the pandemic was under control. The question came after President Donald Trump told Axios on Monday he thought the pandemic was "under control as much as you can control it" in the U.S.

In the past week, the U.S. has averaged 56,966 cases per day, a decrease of 14 percent from two weeks prior, according to The New York Times. It has previously recorded 70,000 cases per day on a number of occasions.

Without naming specific states, Fauci said the U.S. is big a country and "you can pick out some parts of the country that are looking good and you could say is under control, you could pick some parts of the country that are on fire. You don't get 70,000 cases a day when nothing's going on."

Fauci said there was good news that some areas have been able to contain the virus by following certain steps, including residents wearing masks, social distancing, avoiding crowds and bars, washing hands, and remembering that outdoors is always "safer and better" than indoors.

Pressed on whether the country had the pandemic under control, Fauci said he didn't want to create a soundbite that would distract from him delivering the public health facts needed to reopen the country. "We don't need to shut down and we definitely shouldn't let it rip as it were," he said.

Earlier in the interview, Fauci singled out Arizona as a hotspot that was able to bring cases right down by doing "those simple things" he previously mentioned.

Arizona responded to a spike in cases by reversing re-openings, including closing bars, nightclubs, and water parks for 30 days. Other states to step back with re-opening include California, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas and Puerto Rico.

According to Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. is the country with the most confirmed cases, at 4.8 million of the total 18.8 million. The country has also suffered the most deaths, at over 158,000 of more than 707,700 worldwide.

On Wednesday, Florida reported more than 500,000 total cases, a milestone previously held only by similarly badly hit California, according to The New York Times. The states now make up almost a quarter of the country's total cases.

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Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifiesduring a House Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing on a national plan to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on July 31, 2020. ERIN SCOTT/Pool/AFP via Getty Images