• There’s one state above all others that White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci says has done the best job in the US of keeping a lid on coronavirus cases and handling its COVID-19 pandemic — that state is Vermont.
  • Fauci shared this praise in new comments about how this shows the pandemic can be held at bay if the right steps are taken.
  • According to Johns Hopkins University, more than 6.6 million coronavirus cases have now been reported in the US.

The latest data from Johns Hopkins University should make it clear, in case anyone needed to be reminded, how big of a problem the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be in the US, with the university’s tracking map having recorded more than 6.6 million coronavirus cases here since the pandemic began. Even worse, there’s also been more than 196,000 deaths in the US as a result of the virus that continues to bedevil state and federal health systems, even though a coronavirus vaccine is starting to appear tantalizingly close, depending on which news reports you read.

Lest this whole pandemic seem like an untamable beast, and something that we’re completely at the mercy of outside of some basic protective measures like face masks and social distancing, White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci has some reassuring news. Not only can we beat this thing back, there’s proof — because it’s happening right now in one particular US state that’s doing a better job than anywhere else in the country.

During a press conference convened this week by Vermont Gov. Phil Scott, Fauci offered high praise for how well the state has handled the coronavirus pandemic there. The highest praise, in fact, since Fauci (who was present via video call), lauded the state for having the lowest positive test rate in the US (0.2%). Data from The New York Times also shows that Vermont seems to have the lowest overall number of coronavirus cases in the US — both on a total basis (1,702 at the time of this writing) as well as per 100,000 people, with just 273 on that score.

“Notwithstanding that you’re a small state, but it should be the model of how you get to such a low test positivity, that you can actually start opening up the economy in a safe and prudent way,” said Fauci, who also serves as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

As is typical with Dr. Fauci and his public comments, meanwhile, he tempered his praise with a warning. Despite the fact that he was addressing local officials and reporters in the state he’d just praised as having the best coronavirus response in the US, he simultaneously warned everyone to not let their guard down. “The message that I’d like all of the citizens of the state to hear is that this virus is a formidable foe. If you give it an opportunity to reemerge its ugly head, whether you’re in the beautiful rural area of Vermont or in the middle of Manhattan or the Bronx, that virus is going to take advantage of that.”

It’s especially important to be mindful of this during the fall and winter months, when experts like Fauci are especially concerned about not one but two viruses raging in the US that have similar symptoms — both of which can be deadly. “Let’s everybody keep our guard up and not be complacent,” Fauci added.

Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.