Dr. Anthony Fauci Says Many States Reopened Too Quickly as Coronavirus Cases SpikeJuly 27, 2020
Top infectious disease specialist Dr. Anthony Fauci says that several states reopened too quickly as the coronavirus rages across parts of the South and Southwest. Speaking with reporters from the FiveThirtyEight weekly podcast on Thursday, Dr. Fauci says that despite guidelines and precautions, many states are suffering from a resurgence of the virus as they were not cautious in their reopening plans. Dr. Fauci says that Florida in particular jumped over several stages in their reopening schedule. On Friday, the Sunshine State had its biggest spike in infections yet, with over 10,000 new cases and 95 deaths. The rise in new cases has seen hospital and intensive care units filling up at an alarming rate, recalling the earliest days of the virus in March and April.
Dr. Fauci advises that states seeing a resurgence in the virus can still contain it without closing down a second time. Rather, Dr. Fauci tells Steve Clemons with The Hill that states should pause their reopening until they see a decline in new cases. Fauci reiterates that the nature of COVID-19 makes it very difficult to control. The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases says that those patients who contract the virus have an array of different reactions to it. While some are asymptomatic, others might require hospitalization and intubation to treat the disease. In Dr. Fauci’s assessment, the virus is a “perfect storm,” particularly due to its high rate of transmissibility.
In the four states that make up 50 percent of new infections, Florida, Arizona, Texas, and California, Dr. Fauci advises the public to maintain aggressive social distancing by shutting down bars and not joining large crowds. Another public health specialist was more blunt in his assessment of the situation. Dr Ali Khan, former director of the Centers for Disease Control’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, said that unless states can get virus transmission rates under control, they must shut down.
Those states that already have their transmission rates under control say that they are still implementing social distancing restrictions. New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio says that the city will continue to implement aggressive social distancing guidelines for the remainder of the summer. In new regulations announced earlier this week, Mayor DeBlasio says that large crowds and gatherings will not be allowed to assemble through September 30. DeBlasio explained the city’s reasoning in an interview with Wolf Blitzer. DeBlasio notes that the city bases its guidelines on science and data. Simply stated, DeBlasio says that statistics do not support allowing large crowds to gather yet.
With concerns rising on how to control the virus, public officials are questioning how to safely send students back to school this fall. In an interview with Sirius XM Radio, Fauci says that re-introducing grade school students back to class will be far different from how colleges and universities reopen. Overall, Dr. Fauci says that of paramount concern is maintaining a level of public safety while still creating an environment where children can attend school. Dr. Fauci outright dismissed the possibility of no school next fall, pointing out that it would create too many problems for parents who depend on educational institutions to care for their children while they are at work.
The issue of school reopenings became a major point of contention earlier with week when President Trump threatened to cut funding to states if they do not reopen their schools for the next academic year. President Trump further said that the CDC’s guidelines on school reopenings are too strict and ordered the agency to revise them. The organization’s director, Dr. Robert Redfield, said that he would not be revising the agency’s guidelines. Instead, Dr. Redfield said that agency’s guidelines are not meant to be mandatory and are just suggestions as to what strategies schools might adopt for the upcoming year. Redfield further added that the CDC will continue advising the public with new guidelines as needed.