CAMDEN COUNTY, Mo. — The nation's top infectious disease expert is weighing in on the viral pictures and videos from Memorial Day weekend at the Lake of the Ozarks.
The social media posts showed various instances at bars around the lake of people not observing social distancing guidelines, which are currently in place in Missouri to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Wednesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci issued a stern warning after seeing the pictures and videos from the parties at the lake.
“We have a situation in which you see that type of crowding with no mask and people interacting. That’s not prudent and that’s inviting a situation that could get out of control,” he said during an interview Wednesday on CNN. “Don’t start leapfrogging some of the recommendations in the guidelines because that’s really tempting fate and asking for trouble.”
St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force Incident Commander Dr. Alex Garza also has addressed the viral photos of people gathering at the Lake of the Ozarks and ignoring COVID-19 precautions. He said only time will tell if the actions of those seen in the photos and videos will increase the number of cases in the area and around the midwest, but he said it certainly won't limit the spread.
"The bottom line is any time you are ignoring all of these practices — whether it's social distancing or wearing masks or not washing your hands — you're always increasing the risk of transmission," Dr. Garza said. "And so, without a doubt, this type of activity and this type of behavior increased the risk of transmission, which means it can only go in one direction or stay flat."
On Wednesday, the United States topped 100,000 COVID-19-related deaths.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reported an increase of 201 COVID-19 cases Wednesday, the third time in the last week the state has reported more then 200 new cases.
The department reported a total of 12,492 cases and 696 deaths Wednesday, an increase of 201 cases and 10 deaths. The state also reported an increase of 5,191 new PCR tests, bringing the state's total to 165,304.
The positivity rate in the state decreased to 7.56% Tuesday, down from 7.68% on Monday. The rate has dropped each day since the state made changes to the way it reports testing data.
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