Dr. Anthony Fauci expresses his concern about opening the country prematurely without the capability to respond effectively at a Senate hearing on Tuesday.
SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D-WA): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. And thank you to all of our witnesses. Dr. Fauci, you have warned of needless suffering and death if we push to reopen too soon, but the president has actually been sending the opposite message. I want to ask you today, what is the most important message you have for communities and states that are reopening even as our public health experts make it clear it's too soon? Tell us what the consequences are.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI: Thank you very much for the question, Senator Murray. As I've said many times publicly, what we have worked out is a guideline remark of how to safely opening America again. And there are several checkpoints in that with a gateway first of showing, depending on the dynamics of an outbreak in a particular region, state, city, or area, that would really determine the speed and the pace with which one does reenter or reopen.
So, my--my word has been--and I've been very consistent in this, then I get concerned if you have a situation where the dynamics of an outbreak of an area are such that you are not seeing that gradual over 14 day decrease that would allow you to go to phase 1. And then if you pass the checkpoints of phase 1, go to phase 2 and phase 3.
What I've expressed then and again is my concern that if some areas, cities, states, or what have you jump over those various checkpoints and prematurely open up without having the capability of being able to respond effectively and efficiently, my concern is that we will start to see little spikes that might turn into outbreaks. So, therefore, I have been being very clear in my message to try to the best extent possible to go by the guidelines, which have been very well thought out and very well delineated.
MURRAY: So, if a community or a state or a region doesn't go by those guidelines and reopens, the consequences could be pretty dire, correct?
FAUCI: The consequences could be really serious, particularly--and this is something that I think we also should pay attention to, that states even if they're doing it at an appropriate pace, which many of them are and will, namely a pace that's commensurate with the dynamics of the outbreak, that they have in place already the capability that when there will be cases--there is no doubt, even in the best of circumstances, when you pull back on mitigation you will see some cases appear.
It's the ability and the capability of responding to those cases with good identification, isolation, and contact tracing will determine whether you can continue to go forward as you try to reopen America. So, it's not only doing it at the appropriate time with the appropriate constraints, but having in place the capability of responding when the inevitable return of infections occur.