Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government's top infectious disease expert, said during a Senate hearing Tuesday that he was "very disturbed" by the recent spike in COVID-19 cases and said it's conceivable that the U.S. could see as many as 100,000 new infections a day should trends continue.
"We are now having 40,000+ new cases a day," Fauci said. "I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around."
Also during the hearing, Fauci said he's "concerned" about how some states have gone about reopening their economies and said he's observed some states "skipping steps" on federal government guidelines.
"I am also quite concerned about what we are seeing evolve right now in several states, Fauci said. "When states start to try and open again, they need to follow the guidelines that have been very carefully laid out with regard to checkpoints."
"What we've seen in several states is several iterations of that. Perhaps, in some, going too quickly and skipping over some of the checkpoints," Fauci said.
Fauci did not say which states he believed skipped checkpoints but singled out Arizona, California, Florida and Texas as containing more than 50 percent of new infections.
The White House and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recommended that states follow a three-phase reopening plan and meet several criteria before proceeding to each phase. Those criteria include a downward trajectory of documented cases within a 14-day period and a downward trajectory of positive tests as a percent of total tests within a 14-day period.
Fauci's comments came during a Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP).
Among the other health experts who attended the hearing were CDC Director Robert Redfield, FDA Director Stephen Hahn and Assistant Secretary for Health Adm. Brett Giroir.
The hearing comes as several states struggle to contain the virus as they start to reopen amid a nationwide jump in case counts.
The U.S. reported upwards of 40,000 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, Saturday and Sunday — some of the biggest daily spikes since the pandemic began.
The increase is evident in more than half of the states in the nation. Florida, Texas and Arizona are getting hit especially hard.
In the Sunshine State, beaches have closed for the upcoming Fourth of July holiday.
For its part, Texas has begun scaling back the reopening of its economy.