"You can't enter into the cool months of the fall and the cold months of the winter with a high community infection baseline," Dr. Anthony Fauci said 

By Ally Mauch
October 17, 2020 12:00 PM
Emmanuele Ciancaglini/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The United States officially surpassed 8 million coronavirus cases as of Friday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

More than 218,000 people in the country have now died due to the virus, and cases are continuing to rise in nearly every state.

There were 70,451 new cases of coronavirus on Friday, the highest daily case count since July, The New York Times’ COVID-19 database shows. The Midwest has been particularly hard hit in recent months, but the latest wave has spared no region of the U.S.

Areas that have remained relatively stable since the initial wave of virus infections in the spring, including the Northeast and Pacific Northwest, are now also seeing increasing numbers.

Dr. Anthony Fauci
Evan Vucci/AP/Shutterstock

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned that infection rates across the country are too high as we head into the colder fall and winter months.

"You can't enter into the cool months of the fall and the cold months of the winter with a high community infection baseline," Fauci said in a John Hopkins virtual event on Friday, according to CNN.

Earlier in the week, Fauci similarly said the rise in cases is “not a good sign as you’re entering into the colder weather,” advising Americans to consider canceling family gatherings for Thanksgiving and other upcoming holidays.

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"That is, unfortunately, a risk, when you have people coming from out of town, gathering together in an indoor setting," he told host Norah O’Donnell on CBS Evening News Wednesday night. "It is unfortunate, because that's such a sacred part of American tradition — the family gathering around Thanksgiving. But that is a risk."

Fauci continued, "Given the fluid and dynamic nature of what's going on right now in the spread and the uptick of infections, I think people should be very careful and prudent about social gatherings, particularly when members of the family might be at a risk because of their age or their underlying condition. You may have to bite the bullet and sacrifice that social gathering, unless you're pretty certain that the people that you're dealing with are not infected."

Meanwhile, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Saturday that movie theaters outside of New York City — where a number of areas currently have shutdown orders in place — will be allowed to start reopening at reduced capacity on Oct. 23.

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