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Fauci Expects Vaccine by Year's End, Death Rate Slows Even as Virus Cases Increase

06-23-2020
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Alison Sondrup holds her daughter Alayna, 5, during a COVID-19 test from the mobile COVID-19 testing unit at Intermountain Orem Community Hospital, May 5, 2020, in Orem, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Alison Sondrup holds her daughter Alayna, 5, during a COVID-19 test from the mobile COVID-19 testing unit at Intermountain Orem Community Hospital, May 5, 2020, in Orem, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Although the national death toll from COVID-19 has now reached 120,000, the death rate has slowed down. But some of the nation's top health experts are warning the number of cases could be about to "surge" again.

More than half of all US states have reported a rise in new coronavirus cases. Dr. Anthony Fauci and other health experts testified before the House Tuesday that COVID-19 activity "will likely continue for some time."
 
But Fauci, who is the government’s top infectious disease expert, told Congress there's no question we'll have a vaccine to fight this coronavirus, saying “it will be when and not if”. He said he's “cautiously optimistic” that the vaccine will even be available by the end of the year.

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Meanwhile, the infection rate is reported to be rising in 23 states and Puerto Rico. One state public health official in Utah is warning that a so-called "surge" in new cases could force a "complete shutdown." In Texas, the infection rate and hospitalizations have doubled. 

Many Americans are refusing to wear a mask, seeing it as more politics than medicine, and one video shows police officers in California escorting a father and his children out of a Walmart after police say he refused to wear masks. 

But the Republican governor of Texas is asking Texans to wear masks. 

Gov. Greg Abbott said, "I know that some people feel that wearing a mask is inconvenient and it is an infringement of freedom, but I also know that wearing a mask will help us keep Texas open.

That's the case in Florida too where officials are saying, "Everyone will have to wear a mask in public."

More than half of the new cases are Floridians under 35. "The sick individuals have all stated they've been around a pub, a bar or an event during the holiday weekend. Those types of activities," a county official explained.

More than a dozen Florida mayors are now making masks mandatory. 

Arizona is also reporting record-high hospitalization rates. 

With new COVID-19 cases shifting away from older patients to young adults who are less likely to die but are more active, the fear is that they could help spread the disease to other people in their area, including possibly vulnerable seniors. 

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