The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Fauci warns that ‘consequences could be really serious’ if states move too quickly to reopen

The Trump administration has praised its response to the pandemic despite the continued spread of the novel coronavirus. (Video: The Washington Post, Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
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As many parts of the world, including the United States, explore ways to end stay-at-home orders, countries that had already opened up are closing down again after renewed spikes in infections. Lebanon on Tuesday became the latest country to reimpose restrictions after experiencing a surge of infections, almost exactly two weeks after it appeared to contain the spread of the virus and began easing up.

In the U.S., federal health officials testified at a Senate hearing on whether the country is truly ready to reopen, as the death toll surpassed 81,500 on Tuesday. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, warned that “consequences could be really serious” if states move too quickly. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told the committee that social distancing remains “imperative” for Americans.

Coronavirus: What you need to know

The latest: The CDC has loosened many of its recommendations for battling the coronavirus, a strategic shift that puts more of the onus on individuals, rather than on schools, businesses and other institutions, to limit viral spread.

Variants: BA.5 is the most recent omicron subvariant, and it’s quickly become the dominant strain in the U.S. Here’s what to know about it, and why vaccines may only offer limited protection.

Vaccines: Vaccines: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone age 12 and older get an updated coronavirus booster shot designed to target both the original virus and the omicron variant circulating now. You’re eligible for the shot if it has been at least two months since your initial vaccine or your last booster. An initial vaccine series for children under 5, meanwhile, became available this summer. Here’s what to know about how vaccine efficacy could be affected by your prior infections and booster history.

Guidance: CDC guidelines have been confusing — if you get covid, here’s how to tell when you’re no longer contagious. We’ve also created a guide to help you decide when to keep wearing face coverings.

Where do things stand? See the latest coronavirus numbers in the U.S. and across the world. The omicron variant is behind much of the recent spread.

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