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Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

Anthony Fauci on Wednesday told a Wall Street Journal podcast that states experiencing a significant uptick in new coronavirus cases "should seriously look at shutting down."

The big picture: The comments come as states like Florida, Texas and Arizona have become new hotspots for the virus, with soaring rates of infections and rising deaths.

  • While those states have taken steps to pause their economic reopenings, like closing down bars, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has said he will not reinstate restrictions or move to again close businesses that have reopened.

What he's saying: "Any state that is having a serious problem, that state should seriously look at shutting down. It's not for me to say because each state is different."

  • Fauci said he and the White House's coronavirus task force has been "in contact frequently" with public health officials in those states.
  • He blamed a "let it rip" mentality on the surge in cases, saying, "We are all in this together. ... I've been trying to stress that by getting infected or not really caring if you're getting infected, you will inadvertently infect someone. ... So to say that it's benign is not true."

Go deeper

Updated 24 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus variant surveillance varies widely by state — Omicron cases confirmed in 5 U.S. states America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine — Pfizer could have vaccine data for children under five by end of 2021, CEO says.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate — Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come.
  4. World: WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming — Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Oct 17, 2020 - Health

Over 1,000 current and ex-CDC officers decry the "politicization" of the agency

President Trump calls on reporters during a news conference with White House coronavirus coordinator Deborah Birx and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

More than 1,000 current and former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention epidemic intelligence officers have signed an open letter, decrying "the ominous politicization" of the agency throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: The CDC is typically at the forefront of the U.S. response to public health crises, but the agency has largely been sidelined during the COVID-19 outbreak, with the White House attempting to control messaging, which, at times, contradicts scientific evidence.

Oct 16, 2020 - Health

Vaccine timeline "to ensure public trust"

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Pfizer says people might start getting COVID-19 vaccines before the end of the year, according to a timeline it laid out Friday.

The state of play: By the end of October, the company said it hopes to know whether the vaccine is effective, the Wall Street Journal reports.