The US has recorded more than 250,000 deaths from Covid-19, a bleak marker as cases soar once again across the country.
According to Johns Hopkins University, the country has now reported 250,029 deaths and nearly 11.5 million cases.
It has more reported infections and a higher death toll than any other country worldwide.
And cases have once again started to soar throughout the US, hitting new daily highs in the last week.
Speaking to the BBC on Wednesday, top US infectious diseases Dr Anthony Fauci said the country was “going in the wrong direction at a very precarious time”, with people more likely to gather inside as the weather gets colder.
New York City – the epicentre of the US outbreak in the spring – has ordered the closure of its schools from Thursday, amid a spike in cases.
The decision to close the US’s largest public school system came as positive test rates for the virus surpassed the 3% threshold, officials say. It will affect some 300,000 children.
In an interview on the BBC News channel, Dr Fauci warned about the new surge in cases leading to more deaths.
“It’s a very serious situation because there are lagging indicators,” he said. “So when you see the massive increase in cases as we’re seeing now particularly as more and more people are doing things inside, we’re in a very difficult situation.”
He repeated his call for people to “double down” on public health measures, such as wearing face coverings, physical distancing and avoiding crowds.
“They sound so simple and we know they can work. But there’s a degree of Covid fatigue – people just are worn out with these restrictions,” Dr Fauci said.
He urged people to “hold out for just a little longer because help is on the way” in the form of vaccines.
At the end of March – when the US had recorded 2,200 deaths – Dr Fauci predicted the pandemic could kill up to 200,000 Americans and infect millions more. (Courtesy BBC)