(AP) — Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has told a U.S. House committee that the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. is going to get worse.
CDC Director Robert Redfield reports that U.S. virus deaths now up to 31 and confirmed cases are over 1,000.
Fauci told the House Oversight and Reform Committee in Washington on Wednesday that “I can say we will see more cases and things will get worse than they are right now.”
He says how much worse it gets depends on two things: the ability of U.S. authorities to curtail the influx of travelers who may be bringing the disease into the country and the ability of states and communities to contain local outbreaks in this country.
Asked if the worst is yet to come, Fauci said: “Yes, it is.”
Fauci and Redfield faced tough questions on testing during the House hearing.
“We need information and we need it quickly. If we don’t have testing, we don’t know the full scope of the problem,” said New York Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney.
“And if you don’t test people, then you have no idea how many people are infected. We don’t even know where community transmission is happening. We don’t know where to direct resources. We are operating in the dark.”
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough.
For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
The vast majority of people recover from the new virus.
According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.
In mainland China, where the virus first exploded, more than 80,000 people have been diagnosed and more than 58,000 have so far recovered.