With Texas and Mississippi opening up their states, relaxing mask mandates and business regulations, health experts are cautioning it could lead to another surge, none louder than Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who spoke to CNN’s Erin Burnett and delivered a stark warning. For weeks, he and Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have said now is not the time to let our guards down. Read on for his urgent message—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
Dr. Fauci Called the Decision to Relax Restrictions “Inexplicable”
Texas Governor Greg Abbott lifted his state’s mask mandate and said business could open 100%, drawing praise from the right but exasperation from health experts and condemnation from President Joe Biden. "I think it's a big mistake,” he said yesterday. “Look, I hope everybody's realized by now, these masks make a difference. We are on the cusp of being able to fundamentally change the nature of this disease because of the way in which we're able to get vaccines in people's arms.” Governor Tate Reeves of Mississippi also relaxed restrictions. “The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime, everything's fine, take off your mask, forget it. It still matters," Biden said.
“I don't know why they're doing it,” Fauci said of the lifting of restrictions, “but it certainly from a public health standpoint is ill-advised. If you look at right now, the curves of the diminution of infections that are going down, it's reached the point where the last seven days it's plateaued. We've been to the scene before months and months ago, when we try to open up the country and open up the economy, when certain states did not abide by the guidelines we had rebounds, which were very troublesome. What we don't need right now is another surge,” he continued. “So just pulling back on all of the public health guidelines that we know work—and if you take a look at the curve, we know it works. It just is inexplicable. Why would you want to pull back?”
“I understand the need to want to get back to normality, but you're only going to set yourself back,” he said. “If you just completely pull this up, push aside the public health guidelines, particularly when we're dealing with anywhere from 55 to 70,000 infections per day in the United States, that's a very, very high baseline.”
Dr. Fauci Defended His Advice, Calling it Not “Arbitrary”
Fauci’s rules have been called arbitrary by the likes of Senator John Cornyn of Texas, a Republican, who said “the government needs to quit making arbitrary rules that do not have any demonstrable connection with public health.”
“First of all, they’re not arbitrary, said Fauci. “They're based on evidence and data from science. We know that these interventions work, it's very clear when you implement them, you see the cases go down. When you pull back, the cases go up. What you want to do is get down to a low enough baseline so that when you do pull back on the public health measures, that you won't have a surge, because when you have a level of virus, that's low enough as you get these little blips, you can contain them,” he said. “In addition, we have every single day that goes by every week, we get more and more people well vaccinated. So now's not the time to pull back. Now's the time to really crush this by doing both public health measures and accelerating the vaccinations like we're doing. So that's the reason why I said a moment ago that it's, ill-advised, it's not arbitrary. It's not empiric. And it's based on scientific data.”
How to Stay Safe During This Pandemic
Follow Fauci’s fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—wear a face mask that fits snugly and is double layered, don’t travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.