Former Centers for Disease Control Director Tom Frieden warned Sunday that recent spikes in coronavirus cases in several states are not merely a reflection of increased testing, but a real spread of the virus, and that Americans must remain vigilant in combating the pandemic.
Thirteen states recently set record highs for seven-day averages in cases, with a total of 45,755 new COVID-19 cases on Friday.
“The virus has the upper hand,” Frieden said on “Fox News Sunday.” “This virus is not going to go away on its own. We have to stop it.” He recognized that people are tired of staying at home, but said “the virus is not tired of making us sick.”
Frieden told host Chris Wallace that states reopening too soon is part of why there have been spikes in a number of southern and western states.
“If you open when cases are still increasing, as many states did, it’s like leaning into a left hook,” Frieden said. “You’re going to get hit hard. And that’s what’s happening.”
Frieden also warned that numbers will only get worse for weeks before they get better, because the new measures being implemented will take time to be effective. He did note that the fact that most cases seem to be with younger people may provide some comfort, but he warned that “what starts with the young doesn’t stay with the young,” because people go out and can infect others.
When asked whether the spikes in cases are a reflection of increased testing or a true rise in the spread of the virus, Frieden said he has “100 percent certainty” that it is a true rise because of the rise of the percentage of positive tests. He also said that these numbers are “just the tip of the iceberg” of the true spread.
Frieden told Americans to follow the “three w’s” to combat the pandemic: wear a mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance.