Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top US expert on infectious disease and member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, warned on Monday that the country was facing a “serious situation” in part due to reopening too quickly.

“We were averaging about 20,000 new cases a day,” he told National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins during a livestreamed talk.

“And then a series of circumstances associated with various states and cities trying to open up, in the sense of getting back to some form of normality, has led to a situation where we now have record breaking cases. Two days ago it was at 57,500.”

“So within a period of a week and a half, we’ve almost doubled the number of cases,” he said. “We are still knee-deep in the first wave of this.”

Even the term “wave” is misleading because the number of cases has never dipped back down, only rose to new and alarming levels, he said.

Places like the European Union saw its cases go up, then come back down to a baseline, marking the possible end of a first wave, he said. “We went up, never came down to baseline, and now it’s surging back up. So it’s a serious situation that we have to address immediately.”