- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 28, 2021

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the federal government’s top infectious diseases expert, said it’s still too early to be pulling back too quickly on coronavirus-related restrictions despite downward trends in new cases and hospitalizations.

“It’s really too premature right now to be pulling back too much,” Dr. Fauci said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “When you start to see a decline in number of cases, if you prematurely lift the restrictions, we have a few examples of the rebound back.”

Dr. Fauci, a top health adviser to President Biden, said the 70,000 daily new case count is certainly down from last year but that the baseline is still too high.

“We understand the need and the desire, understandably, to want to just pull back because things are going in the right direction,” he said. “But you’ve got to get that baseline down lower than it is now, particularly in light of the fact that we have some worrisome variants that are in places like California and New York and others that we’re keeping our eye on.”

Dr. Fauci said he would not hesitate to take the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which the Food and Drug Administration on Saturday approved for emergency use for people ages 18 and older.

Dr. Fauci said the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are all “really quite good.”

“People should take the one that’s most available to them,” he said. “I think people need to get vaccinated as quickly and as expeditiously as possible. And if I would go to a place where they had J&J, I would have no hesitancy whatsoever to take it.”

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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