News and Commentary

Dr. Fauci: Reopening Too Quickly Could Backfire
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 16: Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, listens to U.S. President Donald Trump speak at the daily briefing of the White House Coronavirus Task Force in the briefing room at the White House April 16, 2020 in Washington, DC. The president unveiled the administration’s plans today to ease social distancing requirements after an earlier call with the nation’s governors.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that reopening the country too quickly could seriously backfire and asked protesters, who have demonstrated in several state capitals over the last week, to have patience.

“Clearly, this is something that is hurting from the standpoint of economics and the standpoint of things that have nothing to do with the virus, but unless we get the virus under control, the real recovery economically is not going to happen,” Fauci said on “Good Morning America.”

Fauci said that opening the economy too soon could make matters worse by causing a massive spike that sets the country back even further than where it was when the coronavirus pandemic began.

“So what you do if you jump the gun and go into a situation where you have a big spike, you’re going to set yourself back,” he said. “So as painful as it is to go by the careful guidelines of gradually phasing into a reopening, it’s going to backfire. That’s the problem.”

Since last week, protests have been mounting all across the country, most especially in blue states, as people express their desire to have the economy open up, fearing that the lockdowns have caused irreversible damage. Speaking to Fox News on Sunday, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said the protests were “unfortunate.”

“People are taking to the streets, pushing back against some of the more stringent restrictions in some states. Can you understand why they’re doing that?” host Chris Wallace asked Pelosi.

“No, not, not really because what we have to do is, is, is shelter in place. That is really the answer,” Pelosi responded.

“Testing. Tracing. Treatment. Shelter in place. And I do think that it’s unfortunate,” Pelosi she added. “But, you know, people will do what they do. But the fact is, we’re all impatient. We all want out. But what they’re doing is really unfortunate.”

Though some protests have been conducted responsibly, others have openly flouted social distancing, with most, if not all, of those in attendance not wearing masks. Fox News profiled one such protest in San Clemente, California, over the weekend where one attendee even went as far to cough on a photographer covering the event:

Attendees of the Sunday rally in San Clemente did not practice social distancing guidelines by standing close together and many did not wear masks.

Many were pictured wearing red, white and blue clothing, hugging, and carrying signs that read “No Liberty, No Life, Re-open California,” “Our Freedom Is Not Yours to Take,” and “Pandemics does NOT cancel our Constitutional rights!! Freedom over fear.”

The few who appeared to counterprotest the rally said they thought the stay-at-home order was necessary and that officials should not ease restrictions.

There were heated moments between the two groups, but the Orange County Sheriff’s Department told the Orange County Register that no arrests or citations were reported.

Protesters also took aim at the media covering the event with signs such as “The Media Is the Virus.”

A photographer from FOX11 was intentionally coughed on by a protester who did not agree with news coverage, but is expected to be OK, according to the station.

Last week, President Trump announced his support for protesters in the states of Minnesota, Michigan and Virginia with calls to “liberate” residents of those states. On Sunday, the president further reiterated his support.

“As far as protesters, you know, I see protesters for all sorts of things,” Trump said Sunday. “And I’m with everybody. I’m with everybody.”