By Beyza Binnur Donmez
ANKARA (AA) - The director of U.S. health agency Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Monday the U.S. is "nearing" the peak of the coronavirus outbreak.
"We are nearing the peak right now," Dr. Robert Redfield told NBC's Today show. "You’ll know when you're at the peak when the next day is actually less than the day before. But clearly the rate, we are stabilizing across the country right now in terms of the state of this outbreak."
Speaking on reopening after mass shutdowns to stem the spread of the virus, Redfield said any reopening should be done "correctly," "step by step and "data-driven."
"And as I said, I think it would be community by community, county by county," he added.
Recalling the predictions that coronavirus-related fatalities could have been between 250,000 and 1 million, he said: "I think the social distancing that the American people all embraced has really led to the reality that we see the overall mortality wise, while sadly still too high, was far less than we anticipated. So this has to be done very carefully."
Asked whether the U.S. needs to do widespread antibody testing, Redfield said that the test could help to track active infections, which will be more needed after reopening for early case identification, isolation and contact tracing and prevent community transmission.
"I think it will help bring consumer confidence in certain workforces, particularly some infrastructure workforces, where individuals will have greater confidence knowing they're already immune, particularly in the healthcare setting," he said. "To see which healthcare workers basically have been exposed and now may be able to care for patients without concern of infection."
The U.S. has the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases and fatalities worldwide now with over 568,100 cases and nearly 23,000 deaths, according to the data compiled by Johns Hopkins University in Maryland.
In all, more than 42,000 people have recovered.
Overall, the virus has spread to 185 countries, infecting nearly 1.9 million people since it first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.