KEY POINTS

  • A top health official warned of draconian measures if Americans do not adhere to coronavirus preventive measures
  • Giroir dismissed Trump's claim that the increase in cases is due to testing
  • One American dies due to COVID-19 every 107 seconds

A top Trump administration health official warned Wednesday that the country might need to impose "draconian measures" if Americans do not mask up. 

Adm. Brett Giroir, the assistant secretary of health and Trump's testing czar, said local governments might be forced to impose the draconian measures if people living in the U.S. fail to follow strict safety precautions that help to halt the virus' spread. 

"We still can control this by wearing masks, social distancing, and being careful around the holidays," Giroir said in an interview with NBC News.  

"But if we don't do those things, it may force local officials or government officials in the states to have more draconian measures because cases will go up if we don't make a change," he added. 

Giroir also dismissed Trump's claim that the uptick in coronavirus cases is due to increased testing.

"We do believe and the data show that the cases are going up. It's not just a function of testing. Yes, we're getting more cases identified, but the cases are actually going up, and we know that, too, because hospitalizations are going up," Giroir said during an interview with NBC's "Today."

Daily deaths are climbing, with one American dying as a result of the coronavirus every 107 seconds, according to data from Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The number of daily hospitalizations has also been rising, from 28,608 on Sept. 20 to 44,000 on Tuesday, USA Today reported. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, cited small indoor gatherings as a driving force of coronavirus outbreaks across the U.S.

"You get one person who's asymptomatic and infected, and then all of a sudden, four or five people in that gathering are infected," Fauci said, NBC News reported. "To me, that's the exact scenario that you're going to see on Thanksgiving."

Giroir's warning comes after the Trump administration claimed it has "ended the COVID-19 pandemic" in a press release. In reality, authorities recorded nearly 74,000 cases on Tuesday. The country has also been averaging 71,000 new coronavirus cases per day in the past week. 

A projection by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) showed that by Feb. 1 of next year,  more than 243,000 people would be infected with COVID-19 each day following the current preventive measures. Easing the coronavirus safety mandates would result in over 738,436 new infections daily, while imposing universal mask-wearing would lower the number to 171,123. 

The number of daily deaths at the start of February in 2021 would reach 2,147 if current mandates stay in place, IHME also projected. Requiring Americans to wear face masks would lower the number of daily deaths to 1,298 by February, but lifting coronavirus restrictions would result in a devastating 5,561 deaths each day. 

The U.S. has reported more than 8.8 million coronavirus cases and over 227,673 deaths since the pandemic began. 

In France, hospitals have warned they are just days away from being overrun with coronavirus patients In France, hospitals have warned they are just days away from being overrun with coronavirus patients Photo: AFP / Pascal GUYOT