As more states seek to reopen their economies after over two months of these crippling lockdown orders, Dr. Anthony Fauci warned people not to be “overconfident” that COVID-19 cases won’t spike immediately.
Speaking with CNN anchor Jim Sciutto on Wednesday, Dr. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said people should carefully watch the states that reopen too quickly for any sudden uptick in COVID-19 cases.
“I think if you look at some of those areas, you start to see a little bit of an uptick, and those are the things you have to watch really carefully, Jim, because there will be cases when you do that and that’s the thing we need to accept – it’s how we respond to it,” he said, as reported by Fox News. “One of the things that I think the people out there frolicking need to realize – that when you do that, and you see no negative effect in one week, please don’t be overconfident, because the effect of spreading is not going to be seen two, three, or maybe even more weeks.”
Dr. Fauci did, however, express optimism that America will not see a second wave of the coronavirus if people follow public health guidelines.
“We don’t have to accept that as an inevitability,” he said. “And particularly when people start thinking about the fall, and I want people to really appreciate that – it could happen but it is not inevitable. If we do the kinds of things that we’re putting in place now to have the workforce, the system, and the will to do the kinds of things that are clear and effective – identification, isolation, and contact tracing – we can prevent this second wave that we’re talking about if we do it correctly.”
Last week, Dr. Fauci said that “irreparable damage” could result from keeping the country lockdown for too long.
“We can’t stay locked down for such a considerable period of time that you might do irreparable damage and have unintended consequences including consequences for health,” he said. “And it’s for that reason why the guidelines are being put forth so that the states and the cities can start to reenter and reopen. So we are enthusiastic about reopening, and I think we can do it in a pace that would be reasonable and that would get us back as a society from a morale standpoint as well as the economy. I don’t want people to think that any of us feel that staying locked down for a prolonged period of time is the way to go.”
Though Fauci said that the United States had to institute strict measures initially to prevent an explosion of deaths, he conceded that certain parts of the country will have to start reopening.
“Now is the time, depending upon where you are and what your situation is, to begin to seriously look at reopening the economy, reopening the country to try to get back to some degree of normal,” he said.
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