We're in for a tough few months, according to the nation's top infectious diseases expert, who on Thursday warned Americans not to underestimate the coronavirus as the weather turns colder. "We need to hunker down and get through this fall and winter because it's not going to be easy," Anthony Fauci said during a panel discussion with doctors from Harvard Medical School, per NBC News. He compared the pandemic to the HIV epidemic, which began with a few cases and progressed to tens of millions of infections and deaths. "We've been through this before," he said. "Don't ever, ever underestimate the potential of the pandemic. And don't try and look at the rosy side of things."
The daily number of coronavirus cases in the US has been dropping in recent weeks. But it remains "unacceptably high," said Fauci, who hopes to see 10,000 cases per day or fewer. For the past three weeks we've been seeing between 30,000 and 50,000 a day. He noted "we're still in the first surge" and that when one region seems to get the virus under control, another experiences an outbreak. He also said we should expect to see post-Labor Day surges, as spikes inevitably follow the lifting of social distancing measures, per the Hill. "It’s really quite frankly depressing to see that because you know what's ahead," he said. "You've got to be flexible enough to change your recommendations, your guidelines, your policies, depending upon the information." (Read more coronavirus stories.)