Fauci holds up New York as model for fighting coronavirus — ‘They did it correctly’

Health, Fitness & Food

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci attends the daily coronavirus briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on April 09, 2020 in Washington, DC. U.S. unemployment claims have approached 17 million over the past three weeks amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alex Wong | Getty Images

White House health advisor Anthony Fauci has praised New York for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, saying the state responded “correctly” to bring its outbreak under control. 

“We know that, when you do it properly, you bring down those cases. We have done it. We have done it in New York,” Fauci said in an interview with “PBS NewsHour” that aired Friday evening. 

“New York got hit worse than any place in the world. And they did it correctly by doing the things that you’re talking about,” he continued. 

New York was once the epicenter of the outbreak in the United States with more than 10,000 new cases a day during its peak outbreak in April. The state has dramatically reduced daily new infections to 776 as of Thursday.

New York is one of nine U.S. states that has the virus under control, according to the tracking project Covid Act Now. Less than 1% of New Yorkers tested for the virus were positive Thursday, down from a high of more than 40%.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo instituted some of the strictest reopening requirements in the country, insisting that stay-at-home orders remain in place and many businesses remain closed far longer than states that are now seeing surges such as Texas and Florida. More than 400,000 New Yorkers have been infected by the virus since the pandemic began and at least 32,463 people have died in the state. 

New York City is scheduled to enter phase 4 on Monday, the next stage of reopening that allows outdoor activities like zoos, outdoor films and gardens. Indoor restaurants, bars, museums, and malls will remain closed, Cuomo said Friday. 

“I’m so proud of what New Yorkers have done. But we must continue to be on alert,” Cuomo tweeted. 

Cuomo has warned of a potential second wave of the coronavirus, as dozens of states around the country grapple with a spike in the number of confirmed coronavirus infections after reopening rapidly in the spring. Last Sunday, Florida reported more than 15,000 new infections, more than New York during the peak of its outbreak. 

In his comments Friday, Fauci addressed the surges around the country, urging people to wear masks and pushing for the closure of bars to limit the spread of the virus. 

“Stay away from crowds. Close the bars,” Fauci said. “You appeal to the people in the local areas, close those bars. They are seriously the — one of the major reasons why we’re seeing [the surges].”

“And I think, if we do that for a couple of weeks in a row,” he continued, “I think we’re going to see a turnaround, because we know that that works.”

The coronavirus outbreak has spread worldwide, with more than 14 million confirmed cases and over 597,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. has had more than 3.6 million cases and  at least 139,302 deaths, according to the latest tallies, more than any other country. 

— CNBC’s Berkeley Lovelace contributed to this report.

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