Dr Anthony Fauci, the Donald Trump administration’s top infectious disease expert, warned Tuesday that cities and states could “turn back the clock” and see more coronavirus deaths and economic damage alike if they lift Covid-19 stay-at-home orders too fast. His response stands in sharp contrast to President Donald Trump’s wishes to halt the downward spiralling economy.
Warning a Senate committee and the nation, Fauci said, “There is a real risk that you will trigger an outbreak that you may not be able to control.” More than two dozen states have started the process of reopening in a bid to restart the sagging economy.
Fauci’s advice was at variance with the President’s who has insisted that US is making ‘tremendous strides’ every day. Trump, whose reelection depends to a substantial degree on the economy, talks up his administration’s record with the virus daily.
The biggest dilemma for the US, as with other countries alike, is striking a balance between easing the lockdown to prevent an economic fallout and saving lives. This is proving to be the most challenging task given that the pandemic is still not completely understood by scientists.
Italy, for instance, partially lifted the lockdown last week but that resulted in a big jump of positive cases. Similarly, Lebanon did the same. It relaxed the lockdown only to reinstate it back again following a spike in cases.
In his statement to the Senate Health, Education, Labour and Pensions Committee, Dr Fauci said more infections and deaths are inevitable as people again start gathering, but how prepared communities are to stamp out those sparks will determine how bad the rebound is. “There is no doubt, even under the best of circumstances, when you pull back on mitigation you will see some cases appear,” Fauci was quoted as saying by AP.
“Move too quickly and the consequences could be really serious,” he added.
An AP analysis has found that “out of the 33 states that have had a 14-day downward trajectory, 25 are partially opened or moving to reopen within days”. Other states that have not seen a 14-day decline, remain closed despite meeting some benchmarks, the analysis added.
Globally, the coronavirus has infected nearly 4.2 million people and killed over 287,000. US has seen more than 80,000 deaths alone, the world’s highest toll
(With inputs from AP)