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Dr. Fauci: Florida Jumped “Over a Couple of Checkpoints” in Reopening

As Florida crossed the 4,000-death threshold for the coronavirus pandemic and logged the most deaths in a 24-hour period on Thursday, the state became the focus of criticism from the nation’s top infectious disease expert.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, who heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, called out Florida for bypassing guidelines and opening too soon.

“Certainly Florida jumped over a couple of checkpoints,” he said in an interview with FiveThirtyEight.

Fauci also told the Wall Street Journal that states that are experiencing spikes in cases and deaths, including Florida, should again consider lockdowns.

“I think any state that is having a serious problem, that state should seriously look at shutting down,” he said.

The state’s one-day death toll high is a likely sign of a rise in coronavirus deaths in the days ahead, according to Dr. Jay Wolfson, Professor of Public Health, Medicine and Pharmacy at the University of South Florida. “It’s going to get worse,” he said.

Dr. Wolfson adds that the rise in deaths typically comes last, weeks after the initial spike in cases occurs. “It’s a cascade,” Wolfson said, “and we are just in the early phases of that cascade.”

The state’s Department of Health on Thursday reported 232,718 confirmed cases and 4,009 deaths.

In a news conference in Jacksonville on Thursday, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Florida and the rest of the Sun Belt region seems to be experiencing a “natural peak” in new cases.

He added that most new cases are in younger populations, who are more likely to avoid serious illness and death.