Speed Reads

the coronavirus crisis

Dr. Fauci warns against triggering 'an outbreak that you may not be able to control' by reopening too soon

Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on Tuesday warned the Senate about the dangers of states reopening too quickly amid the coronavirus pandemic, saying this could result in more "suffering and death."

Fauci, a member of President Trump's coronavirus task force, remotely testified before the Senate on Tuesday and said that the "consequences could be really serious" if states reopen their economies too quickly without following the White House's guidelines, noting they must be capable to respond to an increase in infections.

"There is a real risk that you will trigger an outbreak that you may not be able to control, which in fact, 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 try to get economic recovery," Fauci said. "It would almost turn the clock back rather than going forward."

Many states have started to reopen their economies despite not meeting the White House's guidelines, which include that states should have a "downward trajectory of positive tests" or a "downward trajectory of documented cases" over two weeks. According to The New York Times, "in more than half of states easing restrictions, case counts are trending upward, positive test results are rising, or both."

As of Tuesday, 80,000 deaths from COVID-19 have been reported in the United States, but Fauci also told lawmakers during the hearing that this is probably an undercount.

"The number is likely higher," Fauci said. "I don't know exactly what percent higher, but almost certainly it's higher." Brendan Morrow