Fauci Warns Senate Panel of “Really Serious” Consequences to Fast Reopening

May 12, 2020 by Dan McCue
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases speaks remotely during a virtual Senate Committee for Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing, Tuesday, May 12, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Win McNamee/Pool via AP)

WASHINGTON – Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, told a Senate panel on Tuesday there could be “really serious” consequences to states and cities across the United States reopening their economies too quickly.

He told the Senate Health, Labor and Pensions Committee that communities reopening without adequate safeguards in place “could turn the clock back.”

“My concern is that we will start to see little spikes that might turn into outbreaks,” Fauci said.

Besides Fauci, of the National Institutes of Health, the other experts addressing the panel Tuesday were FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn and Dr. Robert Redfield, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Also scheduled to speak was Adm. Brett Giroir, the coronavirus testing expert at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Fauci’s testimony came as President Donald Trump continued to praise states that are reopening after the weeks-long lockdown aimed at controlling the virus’s spread. 

He testified via video conference after self-quarantining as a White House staffer tested positive for the virus.

As recently as Monday Trump tweeted, “The Democrats are moving slowly, all over the USA, for political purposes. They would wait until November 3rd if it were up to them. Don’t play politics. Be safe, move quickly!”

But Fauci appeared to contradict the president Tuesday, and sounded more like New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and others who have said the faster they move toward some semblance of normalcy, the more illnesses and deaths that occur due to the virus.

“There is no doubt, even under the best of circumstances, when you pull back on mitigation you will see some cases appear,” Fauci said.

There have been over 1.35 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 81,076 deaths in the U.S. since the beginning of the year, according to Johns Hopkins University.

According to the Associated Press, a total of 17 states do not meet the White House criteria for loosening stay-at-home orders and other restrictions — a 14-day downward trajectory in new cases or positive test rates. 

Yet many of these states have begun to reopen or are about to do so. Of the 33 states that have had a 14-day downward trajectory of either cases or positive test rates, 25 are partially opened or are moving to reopen soon, the AP said.

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