Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to the Trump administration’s coronavirus task force, said Thursday that Italy has been impacted particularly badly by the coronavirus pandemic because the country hosted a high number of Chinese tourists in recent months.
“When you look at the different patterns of what happened in different countries, China versus South Korea versus what we’re seeing in northern Italy, it really gives you some interesting insight into certain things, not only in the explosive nature in certain places versus others, but as you get to your peak, how do you know when you’re turning the corner,” Fauci said on CNN.
“It’s when the new infections each day start to level off to be the same and then start going down, then you see the curve go down,” Fauci said, adding that Italy is “not there yet.”
Italy has reported declining numbers of new infections but still added more than 3,400 new cases on Tuesday. More than 57,500 people are currently infected with the coronavirus in Italy, and the country’s death toll passed 7,500 on Wednesday.
“Italy got hit very badly because they had a large number of importations from China by Chinese tourists,” Fauci said.
“Before they even knew what was going on, there was enough baseline people spreading that it essentially got out of hand, and it became difficult for them, as good as they are, and they’re very good, to be able to contain it in a way that is contact-tracing. It was more mitigation,” the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases continued.
Fauci also noted that the outbreak of the virus in Washington state differs from the outbreak in New York City, which is “getting hit terribly hard.”
“We’re a big country, and there are different patterns,” he explained.
Washington state’s outbreak involved the coronavirus spreading in several elder care homes, while New York City is a travel hub that experiences an “influx of travelers,” Fauci said.
New York City reported 100 new deaths from the coronavirus on Thursday, bringing the death toll to 385 as the number of infections topped 37,200.