Residents of seven Midwest states need to be on high alert for catching COVID-19 over Labor Day weekend, Dr. Anthony Fauci cautioned.
“There are several states that are at risk for surging, namely North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Arkansas, Missouri, Indiana, Illinois,” Fauci, the director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Bloomberg in an interview published Thursday.
“Those states are starting to see an increase in the percent positive of their testing; that is generally predictive that there’s going to be a problem.”
Illinois is currently the riskiest state with the most confirmed cases compared to the other six, John Hopkins University data shows. There’s 241,704 confirmed cases in the Prairie State; 96,854 in Indiana; 89,639 in Missouri; 67,692 in Iowa; 63,081 in Arkansas; 14,337 in South Dakota; and 12,977 in North Dakota, Newsweek reported.
Aside from confirmed cases, Illinois also has the highest number of deaths compared to the other states with at least 8,324, the outlet said.
Indiana comes in second with 3,332 deaths.
Fauci cautioned the numbers are troubling and a Labor Day weekend filled with large gatherings in these states could cause an uptick in cases, as have other holiday weekends. He spoke with Vice President Mike Pence and several governors to warn them about the potential for a spike and to urge social distancing and mask wearing, Bloomberg reported.
“If we’re careless about it, then we could wind up with a surge following Labor Day,” Fauci said. “It really depends on how we behave as a country.”