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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — In the heat of summer, the south has become a hotspot for the coronavirus.

Cases in Alabama have continued to increase following the Fourth of July weekend.

“Our seven-day average has quadrupled just in the last few days,” Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) said Tuesday.

Jones shared the latest report on the pandemic in a virtual press conference. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease doctor, joined Jones to talk about how to reopen safely even as the virus seems to fight back.

“So we have a situation right now that we gotta proceed to continue to try and open, but in a safe, measured, very prudent manner,” Fauci said. “Because I don’t think it should be all or none – either shut down completely or throw caution to the wind.”

Just last week, Alabama’s Republican Governor Kay Ivey extended the state’s “Safer at Home” order through July 31 instead of allowing it to expire in time for the July Fourth weekend.

Fauci said the best way to stay safe during the pandemic is to wear a mask, practice social distancing and avoid crowds.

“Masks make a difference,” Fauci said.

Fauci said busy bars like we saw over the holiday weekend “are a perfect set up for the spread of infection.”

But Fauci said it’s important to move forward especially as the school year approaches.

“We should try as best as possible to get the children back to school and the schools open,” Fauci said.

Fauci’s comments came hours before President Donald Trump met with state governors and education officials at the White House to talk about reopening schools.

“We’re very much going to put pressure on the governors to open the schools,” Trump said.

Alabama’s governor says she still hopes to reopen the schools on time. Florida’s education commissioner signed an emergency order on Monday saying all brick and mortar schools in Florida must reopen in August at least five days a week to provide services to students.