Tags: Coronavirus | fauci | states | coronavirus | covid | reopening

Dr. Fauci: States That Reopen Too Soon Creating Virus Surge Risk

anthony fauci speaks to press
Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a White House press briefing at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House Jan. 21, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 18 March 2021 09:42 AM

Some states are pulling back on their COVID-19 public health measures "more prematurely than they should" and creating a risk that the virus could rebound, Dr. Anthony Fauci warned Thursday. 

"I think it is pretty clear that there are some states now that are pulling back I believe a bit more prematurely than they should on the public health measures," Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and President Joe Biden's chief medical adviser, said on NBC's "Today." "The very sharp decline that we had, which was really good news, has now over the last few weeks plateaued at around 50,000, 55,000 new cases per day. That is much too high to be declaring victory."

Across the United States, businesses are mostly open in almost all states, and mask mandates remain in about half the country, according to The New York Times. Stay-at-home orders have also been mostly lifted, with advisories remaining in just a few states. 

"The concern I and my public health colleagues have is that if you pull back on public health measures when you have a high background dynamics of the virus in the community, there is the risk that you are going to rebound," Fauci told "Today" anchor Savannah Guthrie. 

"This is exactly what happened in Europe," he added. "They are generally three or four weeks ahead of us in the dynamics of their outbreak, and they saw the same thing. They plateaued and then they started to take off, and we're seeing that in a few of the states. Not all of the states, but a few of them are starting to have increases, which is very disturbing."

The doctor added that he doesn't want to be a "worrywart," but taken scientifically, "this is what happens when you plateau and start to inch up. History has shown us through three surges that we've had, that that is what happens. That is the dynamics of the virus in the community. That it starts to go down. Then it plateaus. It inches up and then you get a surge."

The concerns about a surge point to the race to get people vaccinated, so the good part of the equation is that every day, two to three million more people are being vaccinated. 

There is also the threat of a surge because of variants in the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, because "when you have a virus that is dominant in the community that has a better capability of spreading from person to person, it makes the likelihood of a surge even greater," said Fauci.

"Thank goodness the vaccines that we have work very well against B117, the U.K. variant, and that is the reason why I keep saying that it is a race between the vaccine and the virus," said Fauci. "Let's get as many people vaccinated as quick as we possibly can."

Fauci also discussed the new research that suggests schoolchildren may be as safe when distanced at 3 feet apart as they are when they are 6 feet apart. 

"There was a good study in the state of Massachusetts in which kids who were wearing masks. They looked at three feet versus six feet, and they really found no difference," said Fauci. "The CDC is analyzing that data very carefully right now. They very well may change. I don't want to get ahead of them. But they are very much on top of this and looking at that data. So they will reconsider about that distance."

However, he said that it's not known yet if the study could have more broad implications about whether adults can be closer to each other. 

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Some states are pulling back on their COVID-19 public health measures "more prematurely than they should" and creating a risk that the virus could rebound, Dr. Anthony Fauci warned Thursday. "I think it is pretty clear that there are...
fauci, states, coronavirus, covid, reopening
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2021-42-18
Thursday, 18 March 2021 09:42 AM
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