By Ernie Mundell and Robin Foster HealthDay Reporters
MONDAY, Nov. 2, 2020 (HealthDay News) — During a rally in Florida late Sunday night, President Donald Trump suggested that he would fire the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, as soon as the presidential election is over on Tuesday.
As he expressed frustration that the coronavirus remains prominent in the news — U.S. case counts are at their highest levels since the pandemic began — supporters in the crowd began chanting, “Fire Fauci,” the Associated Press reported.
Trump replied with this: “Don’t tell anybody, but let me wait until a little bit after the election.” He has previously expressed that he was concerned about the political blowback of removing the popular and respected doctor before Election Day. He added he appreciated the “advice” of the crowd.
Fauci, who heads up the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has begun to challenge the president publicly, saying that Trump has ignored his advice for containing the virus and that he hasn’t spoken with Trump in more than a month. He has also warned repeatedly that the nation is heading for a tough winter if more isn’t done soon to slow the spread of the disease which has killed more than 230,000 Americans so far this year, the AP reported.
The latest case counts suggest Fauci is right: More than 9.2 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and the seven-day average of new daily coronavirus infections in the United States hit a new high of 81,740 on Sunday, the Washington Post reported. Record-shattering numbers of hospitalizations were also recorded in nine states: Alaska, Iowa, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, South Dakota and Utah.
“There is no way to sugarcoat it: We are facing an urgent crisis, and there is an imminent risk to you, your family members, your friends, your neighbors,” Gov. Tony Evers of Wisconsin said last week, The New York Times reported.
Evers’ state has been hard by coronavirus: More than 200 coronavirus deaths were announced last week, and as case numbers have exploded, hospitals have been strained.
But Wisconsin is not alone. The surge that started in the Upper Midwest and rural West has now spread far beyond, sending infection levels soaring in places as disparate as El Paso, Chicago and Rexburg, Idaho, according to the New York Times.
Daily reports of deaths from the virus still remain far below their spring peaks, averaging around 800 a day, but those have also started to climb, the Times reported.
States say they don’t have enough money to distribute a COVID vaccine
Meanwhile, state health officials say they are frustrated about a lack of financial support from the federal government as they face orders to prepare to receive and distribute the first doses of a coronavirus vaccine by the unlikely target date of Nov. 15, the Post reported. And these officials stress that they don’t have enough money to pay for the massive undertaking.