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Fauci says new US cases of Covid-19 could double to 100,000 per day

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New U.S. coronavirus cases could more than double to 100,000 per day if the current surge spirals further out of control, the government's top infectious disease expert warned on Tuesday, although he was "cautiously optimistic" a vaccine would be available early next year.

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California, Texas and Arizona have emerged as new epicentres of the pandemic, each reporting record increases in Covid-19 cases, adding to pressure on scores of potential vaccines being rushed into trials.

"Clearly we are not in total control right now," Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told a U.S. Senate committee. "I am very concerned because it could get very bad."

Fauci said the daily increase in new cases nationwide, currently around 40,000, could reach 100,000 unless a full nationwide effort was undertaken to tamp down the resurgent virus.

"We can't just focus on those areas that are having the surge. It puts the entire country at risk," he said.

Fauci said there was no guarantee of having vaccine to prevent infection soon, but that early data had left scientists "cautiously optimistic" for 2021. "Hopefully there will be doses available by the beginning of next year," he said.

Covid-19 cases more than doubled in June in at least 10 states, including Texas and Florida, a Reuters tally showed. In parts of Texas and Arizona, hospital intensive care beds for Covid-19 patients are in short supply.

More than 126,000 Americans have died from Covid-19 and millions have lost their jobs, as states and major cities ordered residents to stay home and businesses closed. The economy contracted sharply in the first quarter and is expected to crater in the second.

EU bans travelers from US

With the virus surging in many U.S. states, the European Union has excluded Americans from its "safe list" of countries from which the bloc will allow non-essential travel beginning on Wednesday.

The fresh rise in cases and hospitalisations has dimmed hopes that the worst of the human and economic pain had passed, leading to renewed criticism of U.S. President Donald Trump's handling of the crisis as he seeks re-election on Nov. 3.

His rival, Democrat Joe Biden, on Tuesday launched a fresh attack on what he called Trump's "historic mismanagement" of the pandemic, arguing that the president could have saved lives and spared damage to the economy.

"It didn't have to be this way. Donald Trump failed us," the 77-year-old former vice president said in a speech in Delaware, where he unveiled an updated plan to tackle the pandemic. That plan includes more testing and the hiring of 100,000 contract tracers to locate anyone who may have been exposed to the virusRead More – Source

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