Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Thursday that because of the “very good job” the nation is doing on social distancing efforts, it is now “very likely” that by the end of the 30-day nationwide lockdown at the end of April, we will be taking key steps toward “normalization” and, by summer, will have taken “many steps in that direction.” Later that day, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin echoed the sentiment from an economic angle, saying we are on track to begin reopening the U.S. economy in May.
In an interview with “CBS This Morning” Thursday, Dr. Fauci discussed the latest developments in the nation’s battle against the coronavirus pandemic, including significantly improved projections from one of the key models heavily influencing the nation’s approach to the virus, the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IMHE) model, which recently downgraded its fatality projections by August from around 100,000 to around 60,000.
Asked by co-host Toney Dokoupil if he could imagine people actually returning to beaches over the summer and experiencing some sense of normalcy, Fauci said that if recent trends continue, “it is very likely that we will progress toward the steps toward normalization as we get to the end of this 30 days” and, by the summer, “we will have taken many steps in that direction.”
“It looks like things are going to be improving,” said the infectious disease expert. “If you look at the curves that we talk about — we often talk about flattening the curve and then getting around the corner and coming down. If in fact we see that, and it will be differential, in different parts of the country. I mean, New York City, the terrible ordeal that they’ve gone through, is very different from some of the places in the middle of the country or the mountain regions. So when you say get back to ‘normal,’ it’s not going to be a light switch that you turn on and off. It’s going to be differential and gradual depending upon where you are and where the burden of infection is.”
“But the bottom line of it all is, that what we see looking forward, it is very likely that we will progress toward the steps toward normalization as we get to the end of this 30 days,” Fauci continued. “And I think that’s going to be a good time to look and see how quickly can we make that move to try and normalize. But hopefully, and hopefully, by the time we get to the summer, we will have taken many steps in that direction.”
As reported by CBS News, Fauci also made a point of stressing that despite the downgraded projections, “We’ve got to continue in many respects to redouble our efforts at the mitigation of physical separation in order to keep those numbers down and hopefully even get them lower than what you’ve heard recently.”
When asked by @TonyDokoupil if he can envision a summer where we're returning to beaches, celebrations, etc., Dr. Fauci said yes, “if we do the things that we need to do to prevent the resurgence" and "identify, isolate, contact, trace," to avoid future spikes. pic.twitter.com/FBExwKcjrY
— CBS Mornings (@CBSMornings) April 9, 2020
As reported by CNBC, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin made similarly hopeful comments the same day. Asked by “Squawk on the Street” host Jim Cramer if he believes we can start reopening the economy in May, Mnuchin said, “I do, Jim.”
“I think as soon as the president feels comfortable with the medical issues,” he added, noting that the Trump administration is doing “everything necessary” to help American businesses be “open for business” and “have the liquidity that they need to operate their business in the interim.”
Mnuchin is reportedly one of the key members of a second Coronavirus Task Force President Trump is in the process of creating, which will be primarily focused on the task of reopening the country. According to The Washington Post, chief of staff Mark Meadows is likely to head up the new economic task force and will be joined by Mnuchin and national economic adviser Larry Kudlow. “The goal is to get as much of the country as possible open by April 30, the current deadline Trump set for stringent social distancing measures,” the Post reported Thursday.
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