“There Is a Real Risk That You Will Trigger an Outbreak”: Fauci Warns States Against Reopening Too Soon

Kevin Dietsch/POOL/CNP/Zuma

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In recent weeks, Dr. Anthony Fauci has served as a quiet dissenting voice to President Trump’s calls for states to reopen their economies despite the threat of resurgences in coronavirus cases. On Tuesday, the director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases heightened his warning, telling a Senate committee that if states open too soon, “there is a real risk that you will trigger an outbreak that you may not be able to control.”

More than 40 states have eased stay-at-home orders to various degrees, allowing their economies to partially reopen, even as case counts surge in meatpacking plants, nursing homes, and prisons. Governors are anxious to let their constituents get back to work, but, according to Fauci, reopening states now could cause adverse economic effects in the long run.

A new outbreak “paradoxically will set you back, not only leading to some suffering and death that could be avoided, but could even set you back on the road to trying to get economic recovery,” Fauci said during questioning by Sen. Bob Casey (D-Penn.). “It would almost turn the clock back, rather than going forward.”

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You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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