Dr. Anthony Fauci on Monday said it’s not tenable to reimpose the kinds of prolonged lockdowns various states enacted in response to the coronavirus pandemic in recent months and that the public can help slow the spread of infection through measures such as physical distancing and wearing masks.
Dr. Fauci said that both from an economic and public health perspective, it’s not tenable to stay “completely shut down for a very prolonged period of time.”
“We need to drop back a few yards and say OK, we can’t stay shut down forever,” he said.
Dr. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was speaking via video stream with Dr. Lloyd Minor, dean of the Stanford School of Medicine.
He said the U.S. didn’t shut down entirely like some other countries, and that’s why coronavirus case numbers went up, started to come down and then plateaued at a relatively high level of about 20,000 infections per day.
More recently, daily coronavirus cases in the U.S. have routinely topped 50,000.
“Then as we started to reopen, we’re seeing the surges that we’re seeing today as we speak in California, in Arizona, in Texas, in Florida and in several other states,” Dr. Fauci said.
He lamented that some states went from shutdown mode to “complete[ly] throwing caution to the wind.”
“Bars that were crowded, people without masks,” Dr. Fauci said.
“There are things that you can do now ‚ physical distance, wearing a mask, avoiding crowds, washing hands,” he said. “Those things, as simple as they are, can turn it around, and I think we can do that, and that’s what we’ve got to do looking forward.”
Some at the White House, including President Trump, have griped recently about Dr. Fauci and some of his past proclamations about COVID-19.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said on Monday that Mr. Trump and Dr. Fauci have a “good working relationship.”