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As US Hits Record Number of Cases, Fauci Says More Testing Can Help

FILE - A medical worker operates a COVID-19 mobile testing tent in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Nov. 11, 2020.

The top U.S. infectious-disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, says that more testing could help bring the current surge of COVID-19 cases in the United States under control.

The country has set daily infection records every day over the past several days, with about 160,000 new infections reported nationwide Thursday.

Speaking on the CBS This Morning news program, Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that cooler weather in the United States has brought people inside where the virus spreads more easily.

Fauci said "community spread" is behind the current surge – that is, asymptomatic people are unknowingly spreading the virus to others. He said more testing of asymptomatic people would help identify and potentially isolate those people, which can help bring down infections.

When asked about the upcoming U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, a traditional day for families to gather for a feast, Fauci suggests that if people are gathering with others they do not know or who have traveled long distances, they should wear masks indoors when they are together.

He said smaller gatherings with immediate family can greatly lessen risks and, therefore, the need for masks, if everyone has been tested and/or quarantined before gathering.

Fauci again stressed simple public health measures — wearing a mask, social distancing, washing hands — can level off the soaring numbers being seen in the United States. He said if we could add to that a vaccine, "we can turn this thing around. It is not futile."

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