Dr. Anthony Fauci says U.S. COVID-19 cases 'unacceptably high' as flu season nears

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Sept. 3 (UPI) -- The United States recorded slightly fewer than 40,000 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, which Dr. Anthony Fauci said is still too high as the nation moves toward the fall flu season.

According to updated data Thursday from the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, there were 39,600 new cases nationally, a decrease of about 3,500 from the previous day.

The figures also showed about 1,000 new deaths.

To date, there have been 6.12 million cases and about 185,800 total deaths in the United States associated with the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins data.

Fauci, the nation's top infectious diseases expert, said daily totals of 40,000 or more cases are too high with the fall flu season nearing.

"We're around 40,000 cases -- that's an unacceptably high baseline," he told MSNBC Wednesday. "We've got to get it down to, I'd like to see 10,000 or less."

Whether that's possible may depend on Americans' behavior during Labor Day weekend, he said.

"We know from prior experience as you get into the holiday weekend, the Fourth of July, Memorial Day, there's a tendency of people to be careless somewhat with regard to the public health measures," he said, urging Americans to take "fundamental" precautions like masks, distancing and avoiding crowds.

In California, hospitalizations in Los Angeles have fallen to their lowest level in five months, Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday.

"Our hospitalization numbers are the lowest we have seen since early April," he said. "Today, 1,062 Angelenos are in the hospital because of COVID-19. To put that in perspective, in just the last five weeks alone, we've cut our hospitalizations by more than half."

The city, he added, is "headed in the right direction."

Los Angeles County has seen more cases (244,000) than any other county in the United States. To date, there have been more than 722,000 coronavirus cases in California, the most of any state.

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