Dr. Anthony Fauci opened up about ending the lockdown, stating that remaining closed too long could cause “irreparable damage,” said the White House’s top doctor on Friday.
“We can’t stay locked down for such a considerable period of time that you might do irreparable damage and have unintended consequences, including consequences for health,” Fauci said in a CNBC interview.
“And it’s for that reason why the guidelines are being put forth so that the states and the cities can start to reenter and reopen.”
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the measures were necessary early on to curb the explosive spread of the coronavirus.
“Now is the time, depending upon where you are and what your situation is, is to begin seriously looking at reopening the economy, reopening the country to try and get back to some degree of normal,” he said.
Fauci said he recommends taking precautions if areas are seeing a rise in cases, but are still choosing to open up.
“There are certain things that you can do. The idea about physical separation, about wearing a mask, about not getting involved in crowds. You can still proceed to open, so long as you do those fundamental, baseline things,” Fauci said. “But in general, I think most of the country is doing it in a prudent way.”
Earlier this month, Fauci said that trying to reopen the US too soon would result in “needless suffering and death” from a new wave of coronavirus infections.
The unemployment rate in the U.S. is 14.7%, and expected to go higher when the May jobs report is released in two weeks.
President Donald Trump on Friday labeled churches and other houses of worship as “essential,” and called on governors nationwide to let them reopen this weekend even though some areas remain under lockdown. The president threatened to “override” governors who defy him, but it was unclear what authority he has to do so.