As a recent spike across much of the U.S. sent coronavirus numbers soaring, many experts have argued that Americans should start preparing for another round of economic shutdowns and shelter-in-place orders.
During a town hall event this week on CNN, however, top White House coronavirus task force adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci made it clear he does not support that argument, as reported by Breitbart.
“We’re learning more and more”
“I don’t think we need to go to lockdown again and shelter in place,” he said in the conversation with the cable news network’s Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
“There are situations, as I’ve mentioned to you before, in multiple interviews, where, when they were trying to open up a state or a city, that there were certain guidelines that were skipped over,” Fauci added. “Maybe you’re in a phase two and you need to pause and maybe go back to phase one.”
While he called such case-by-case decisions “entirely conceivable and may be recommended,” he advised against a one-size-fits-all solution.
“I don’t think we need to go all the way back to lockdown,” he repeated. “And the reason I say that is that we’re learning more and more. If you do five fundamental principles, in any situation, one, wear a mask all the time, consistently, when you’re outside, and can be exposed.”
He went on to stress the four other recommendations: handwashing, physical distancing, staying away from bars, and avoiding large gatherings.
“Clear-cut and significant benefits”
“And we know when you do that, and states that have done that, they’ve actually flattened the surging curve and are starting to come down,” Fauci concluded. “So, bottom line, right now, I don’t think we need to go to lockdown.”
While the longtime National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director is widely respected as an expert source, he has also attracted criticism — including from Yale epidemiology professor Harvey Risch, who questioned Fauci’s opposition to the use of hydroxychloroquine.
“When this inexpensive oral medication is given very early in the course of illness, before the virus has had time to multiply beyond control, it has shown to be highly effective, especially when given in combination with the antibiotics azithromycin or doxycycline and the nutritional supplement zinc,” Risch wrote in a Newsweek op-ed.
In the piece, he referenced “five studies, demonstrating clear-cut and significant benefits to treated patients, plus other very large studies that showed the medication safety.”
While Fauci is certainly not infallible, his latest remarks seem to signal a growing awareness that another widespread shutdown of the country is simply not the answer.