Dr. Anthony Fauci on Friday said the spread of the coronavirus will determine when officials might relax social distancing guidelines and push for a “reopening” of the U.S. economy.
“As I’ve said so many times … the virus kind of decides whether or not it’s going to be appropriate to open or not,” Dr. Fauci said on CNN’s “New Day.”
“We would want to see — I would want to see — a clear indication that you are very, very clearly and strongly going in the right direction,” said Dr. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “We’re looking for the kinds of things that would indicate that we can go forward in a gradual way to essentially reopen the country to a more normal way.”
Hot spots such as New York have reported a continued increase in coronavirus-related deaths in recent days but a relative stabilization in terms of new hospitalizations.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin on Thursday suggested that parts of the U.S. economy could reopen next month.
The federal government had extended guidance until April 30 that people should stay at home if they can and avoid crowds.
But many states and localities have passed tighter restrictions on their residents’ movements and could ignore changes to the federal guidelines if state leaders don’t feel it’s safe for their residents to freely venture back out in public.
President Trump has resisted the idea of a national stay-at-home or lockdown order, saying governors can be trusted to write the rules of the road for their respective states.