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

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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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