U.S. President Donald Trump’s timeline for lifting the novel coronavirus-linked restrictions in the United States by Easter Sunday should be “flexible, Dr. Anthony Fauci declared.
The restrictions have shut down a substantial portion of the U.S. economy.
Health officials need to assess how widespread the disease is in areas of the U.S. that have not experienced significant numbers of cases, said Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House’s coronavirus task force.
Asked about the president’s Easter Sunday goal for reopening the U.S. economy, Fauci told reporters on Tuesday, “You can look at a date, but you’ve got to be very flexible and on a literally day-by-day and week-by-week basis. You need to evaluate the feasibility of what you’re trying to do.”
The doctor conceded that lifting restrictions in places like New York, the epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S., does not make sense.
You may not want to essentially treat it as just one force for the entire country, but look at flexibility in different areas. So I think people might get the misinterpretation you’re just going to lift everything up. … That’s not going to happen. It’s going to be looking at the data. And what we don’t have right now that we really do need, is we need to know what’s going on in those areas of the country where there isn’t an obvious outbreak.”
Areas with a low number of cases may be able to ease rules urging people to avoid social gatherings of more than ten people and stay away from bars and restaurants in the coronavirus hotspots, Fauci said
He warned, however, that the U.S. does not have enough data to pinpoint where those regions are.
Fauci called for aggressive testing and isolation of individuals who are carrying the virus to help prevent the disease from spilling over to parts of the country that have not seen an outbreak.
Both Fauci and Trump have pushed back against the mainstream media efforts to create tensions between the two.
During a Fox News virtual town hall on Tuesday, Trump described Fauci as “extraordinary,” adding that he gets along with him “very well.”
That same day, Fauci told WMAL that the media were pitting him against Trump.