Fauci said the current plateau of COVID-19 cases in the US is unacceptable and warned against an 'on and off' strategy for reopening

  • US coronavirus cases have been plateauing, and remain at a high level.
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci told CBS this was “not an acceptable level.”
  • A surge in cases with current levels this high would be “risky,” he said.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

The US COVID-19 case count is plateauing at “not an acceptable level,” Dr. Anthony Fauci told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday, and warned against public-health measures being turned “on and off”.

Speaking to CBS’ Margaret Brennan, Fauci, the White House chief medical advisor, said that having another surge of cases when cases are plateauing at “quite a high level” would be “risky.” 

The CDC warned last week that a fourth surge of cases could be coming in the US.

The number of daily new confirmed cases had been dropping, but are currently hovering between 60,000 and 70,000.

In his interview, Fauci said that European countries can provide a template for the US, because their patterns are “usually a couple of weeks ahead of us.”

Europe witnessed a 9% increase in cases in the last week after experiencing a plateau, Fauci said.

He also warned against coronavirus measures being switched “on and off,” saying “it really would be risky to have yet again another surge, which we do not want to happen because we’re plateauing at quite a high level.”

The White House and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention have been clear that they did not approve of some states pulling back coronavirus restrictions without waiting for CDC recommendations.

Last week, Fauci called Texas and Mississippi’s decisions to lift their mask mandates “inexplicable,” and President Joe Biden said this was the result of “Neanderthal thinking.”

In his Sunday interview, Fauci said the US would be pulling back coronavirus restrictions gradually as “we get more people vaccinated,” and that the measures are not meant to be “indefinite.”

“We want the levels of virus very, very low, and then we will have much, much easier time to safely pull back and get the economy and all the other things that we want to be normal,” he told “Face the Nation.”

New guidelines from the CDC for vaccinated people had been expected last week, but were ultimately delayed. 

“Those guidelines are coming out from the CDC really imminently,” Fauci said on Sunday. “I would imagine, within the next couple of days for sure.”

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