Dr Fauci on what to expect this winter (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The leading infectious disease expert in the United States has warned the country was “not in a good place” when it comes to the novel coronavirus pandemic, a stark warning ahead of the coming flu season and winter months.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) and member of the White House coronavirus response task force, said in a new interview that many parts of the country need to significantly increase their efforts to combat Covid-19 to avoid a potentially catastrophic reemergence of the novel virus responsible for more than 200,000 deaths nationwide.

“As we get into the fall and the winter, you really want the level of community spread to be as low as you possibility get it”, Dr Fauci said in an interview with ABC News’ Good Morning America on Monday.

While the expert noted there were “certainly parts of the country that are doing well”, he added: “There are states that are starting to show uptick in cases and even some increases in hospitalizations in some states.”

“I hope not but, we very well might start seeing increases in deaths,” Dr Fauci warned. “You don’t want to be in a position like that as the weather starts getting cold.”

The doctor was speaking to the news outlet about the need “to intensify the public health measures” recommended by the CDC and other scientific institutions to curb the spread of infections as several states across the country were reporting a rise in Covid-19 cases.

In Florida, for example, reports have shown a slight uptick throughout September among college-aged residents of the state.

Meanwhile, Governor Ron DeSantis announced Florida would be lifting all restrictions against restaurants and businesses as part of an effort to revive the economy.

“I think this will be very, very important to the industry,” the Republican governor told reporters at a press conference during the weekend about his decision to lift restrictions on restaurants.

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“We’re prepared if we see an increase,” he added. “We’re not closing anything moving forward. We have the tools in place.”

Dr Fauci spoke about the state’s decision to end its coronavirus restrictions, calling the move “very concerning” and adding: “That’s something that we really need to be careful about.”

“When you’re dealing with community spread and you have the kind of congregate setting where people get together particularly without masks, you’re really asking for trouble,” he said. “Now’s the time actually to double down a bit.”

However, Dr Fauci made clear in the interview that he was not calling for a total shutdown of the economy similar to what happened in March, saying: “We’re not talking about shutting anything down. We’re talking about common sense type of public health measures that we’ve been talking about all along.”

He added: “Obviously, if things really explode you’d have to consider that. But we want to do everything we possibly can to avoid an absolute shutdown.”

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