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Fauci Says Staying Closed Too Long Could Cause Irreversible Damage, But Urges States To Take ‘Very Significant Precautions’

TOPLINE

Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNBC on Friday that keeping the country closed for too long could cause “irreparable damage,” but he warned that states should ease off of social distancing restrictions slowly and take “very significant precautions” while doing so.

KEY FACTS

“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,” said the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. 

He added that since cases are no longer exploding in many areas of the country, it is time to “seriously look” at reopening the economy.

He cautioned, however, that states should not rush reopening: “please proceed with caution,” he said.

During a Senate hearing last week, Fauci warned of serious consequences if states ignore federal reopening guidelines and said that even in the “best of circumstances,” new cases will accompany relaxed restrictions. 

In another Senate hearing this week, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also warned of the “risk of permanent damage” if states remain closed for too long as he advocated for bringing people back to work safely.

Tangent

On Friday morning, Fauci told NPR it is “conceivable” that a vaccine for the coronavirus could be available in the United States by December after promising results from a Moderna trial, though he again tempered his remarks with a warning that his timeline was “never a promise” because the vaccine development process is unpredictable.  

Key background

All fifty states have now taken some steps towards reopening. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott lifted air travel restrictions that required travelers from several areas of the country—including New York, California and Chicago—to spend 14 days in quarantine upon arrival. On Friday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that another two regions of the state could reopen as soon as next week, depending on whether or not the number of coronavirus deaths continues to decline and whether contact tracing goes online. 

Further reading

Dr. Fauci: We Don’t Have Coronavirus Outbreak ‘Completely’ Under Control; Death Toll ‘Likely Higher’ (Forbes)

CARES Act Testimony: Powell Questions Whether Federal Policy Response Is ‘Enough’ (Forbes)

Texas Lifting Air Travel Restrictions From New York, California, Others (Forbes)

World Hits 5 Million Total Covid-19 Cases (Forbes)

Source: Forbes – Money

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