Dr. Anthony Fauci is warning leaders of U.S. states about the “risky business” of doing away with wearing masks to stem the spread of COVID-19, saying it could cause another spike of the virus.
Infections spiked in April 2020, then again this winter, but have since dropped off dramatically. But Fauci said we’re not done yet.
“Even though the decline was steep, we absolutely need to avoid the urge to say; ‘Oh, everything is going great,'” Fauci said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “Don’t spike the ball on the five-yard line. Wait until you get into the end zone. We are not in the end zone yet.”
More than 10 states have removed stringent COVID-19-related restrictions, including doing away with mask mandates and allowing more people to go to restaurants and indoor gatherings. But Fauci, an immunologist, and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who served on former President Trump’s White House Coronavirus Task Force and is now President Biden’s chief medical adviser on COVID-19 said that while things are moving “in the right direction,” infections are still too high.
“If you look at the numbers that have gone down, they’ve gone down so nicely in a very steep decline. But in the last couple of weeks, we’ve had a plateauing of infections. And the thing that concerns me, because history proves I should be concerned, is when you get a plateau around the level of 60,000 new infections per day, there is always a risk of another surge,” he said.
“When I hear pulling back completely on public health measures, saying no more masks, no nothing like that, that is risky business,” Fauci said.
Fauci’s comments came days after Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) blasted the immunologist.
In an interview last week on Fox News, host Laura Ingraham asked Paul, “Senator, you have been one of the few lawmakers to directly call out Dr. Fauci’s lies. Are people afraid to question him? And if so, why?”
“Well, it’s the science — and people are afraid of, you know, scientists, and he’s put on a pedestal,” the Kentucky Republican said. “But you have to remember that his lies are noble lies, Laura. He’s not telling you this because he’s a mean man. He’s telling you this because he feels sorry for you because you don’t understand, and Americans aren’t smart enough to make informed decisions. So, he fashions himself some sort of Greek philosopher. He tells you these noble lies.”
Said Paul: “So, at first, he told you that all the masks don’t work. But he told you that because he wanted to protect the N-95 masks, which actually in a health setting do work. But then, later on, he said, all masks do work. But that’s also a lie also because really only the N-95 masks work.”
“It’s a compilation of lies,” Paul said of Fauci. “But they’re all done to protect you because he doesn’t think you’re smart enough to make any of these decisions on your own.”