News and Commentary

CDC Director Says Coronavirus Cases Are Stabilizing, Could Peak This Week
Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), speaks during a Coronavirus Task Force news conference at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, April 8, 2020. Trumps top health advisers are developing medical criteria for safely reopening the U.S. economy in coming weeks should trends showing a crest in the coronavirus outbreak hold steady. Photographer: Chris Kleponis/Polaris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photographer: Chris Kleponis/Polaris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told Fox News on Monday that he believes the number of coronavirus cases is “stabilizing” across the country and that the United States is close to the virus’ “peak.”

The CDC has been largely on the sidelines during the coronavirus pandemic as the nation’s infections disease experts take the lead in helping President Donald Trump manage the crisis. The CDC has been focused on issuing guidelines for “social distancing” and self-protection for Americans looking to prevent or slow the spread of coronavirus in their states and cities.

The agency has been tracking coronavirus numbers, Redfield told Fox & Friends Monday, and he and other CDC experts believe the pandemic has “stabilized,” especially in “hot zones” like New York City.

“I think we’ve really stabilized across the country,” Redfield said. “We’re still seeing a small rate of increase in the range of 5 to 6 percent, as opposed to where we were before when it was 20 percent, 30 percent per day; but we are close.”

Redfield added that once the day-over-day numbers begin coming down, authorities can begin discussing how to reopen the country and ease coronavirus-related lockdowns. That moment could come as early as this week.

“We’re stabilized and I anticipate that we will begin to see a decline in the days ahead, but we have got to just continue to take it day by day and look at the data,” he continued. “We’re going to need to reopen gradually in a thoughtful, prudent way, jurisdiction by jurisdiction, based on the data about what’s the state of transmission of this virus in those areas.”

Redfield did caution that, even as cases begin declining, Americans will still have to follow some of the CDC social distancing guidelines and shelter-in-place when possible, and that group gatherings and outings should be limited.

Redfield credited the CDC’s social distancing guidelines — and Americans’ willingness to limit their movement and comply with the CDC’s recommendations — with significantly lowering death count projections from between one and two million to under 60,000.

“It’s much, much, much less than that and it’s really a direct consequence of the American public all coming in,” he said. “It’s going to be critical over the next four to eight to 12 weeks that we continue thoughtful mitigation steps as we begin to bring our country back to work.”

An economic recovery will hinge on “early case recognition, isolation, contact tracing,” and available testing.

‘We’re obviously gearing up to reinforce the public health capacity across this nation to do it, but increasing in testing is continuing on a daily basis and it is going to need to be in place in order for us to effectively reopen and keep this nation reopened.”

The United States has around 22,000 confirmed deaths from coronavirus and over a half million confirmed cases. According to readily available data, the pace of new confirmed cases is, in fact, declining. Last week, the U.S. was averaging over 30,000 new cases per day. On Sunday, that number dropped below 30,000 for the first time since the beginning of April.