Fauci Urges Coronavirus Precautions Over Labor Day After July 4 Holiday Led to 'Surge in Cases'

"You want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem," Dr. Anthony Fauci said

As Labor Day weekend kicks off, Dr. Anthony Fauci is urging Americans to continue taking precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to avoid another “surge in cases.”

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a top White House coronavirus advisor, warned that this holiday weekend could lead to a spike in cases similar to what followed after Memorial Day and the Fourth of July.

"Wear a mask, keep social distancing, avoid crowds," he told Sheinelle Jones on Today. "You can avoid those kinds of surges. You don't want to be someone who's propagating the outbreak. You want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem."

Fauci added to CNN that Americans can still enjoy the last holiday weekend of the summer.

“That doesn’t mean you have to lock yourself in a room and not enjoy what hopefully will be a nice weekend for people. But there are certain fundamental things that you can do and still enjoy yourself, and these are things that I’ve spoken about so often; the wearing of the mask, the physical distancing, the avoiding crowds, trying to keep gatherings outside — much, much, much preferable than indoors,” he said.

Virus Outbreak California, Huntington Beach, United States - 27 Jun 2020
People hit the beach in Huntington Beach, California. Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP/Shutterstock

This Labor Day weekend is a higher concern, Fauci said, because colder weather and flu season will follow. Experts have warned that the U.S. could see a “twindemic” when COVID-19 and influenza hit at the same time this fall.

“We don’t want to see a surge under any circumstances, but particularly as we go on the other side of Labor Day and enter into the fall, we want to go into that with a running start in the right direction,” he said. “We don’t want to go into that with another surge that we have to turn around again.”

“So it really is an important weekend.”

After three months of skyrocketing COVID-19 cases, the number of new infections in the U.S. has plateaued at around 40,000 a day, still one of the highest rates of infection in the world.

covid map
Martin Schwartz/PEOPLE.

While cases have finally slowed in the South and West — notably Florida, California and Arizona, which saw record-breaking numbers in July and August — they are now increasing in the Midwest and rural areas. North and South Dakota, Iowa and Kansas all hit new highs for daily cases in the last week, and health experts are concerned that it could overwhelm their smaller health care systems.

“They don’t have the same kinds of hospitals and the same kinds of resources to deal with an epidemic like this,” former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Scott Gottlieb said on Face the Nation on Sunday, the Washington Post reported.

As of Sept. 3, more than 6,134,700 Americans have tested positive for COVID-19 and at least 185,963 people have died, according to The New York Times.

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