Dr. Fauci Warns Against Lifting COVID-19 Restrictions

In the wake of Texas and Mississippi lifting mask mandates and limits on business capacity, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical advisor to President Biden, has spoken out on the dangers of lifting COVID-19 restrictions too soon. While states had been experiencing a decline in cases, it has now plateaued to around 60,000 to 70,000 infections per day. Lifting restrictions at the first sign of improvement could be detrimental to the country’s progress and undermine vaccination efforts, according to public health experts.

On Sunday, Dr. Fauci told CBS’s Face the Nation that the plateau in the number of COVID-19 cases is still at “not an acceptable level.” He further explained that, in turning the restrictions “on and off,” we are at risk of another surge. “We’re going in the right direction but we just need to hang on a bit longer,” he said. “This is not going to be indefinite. We need to gradually pull back as we get people vaccinated.” Dr. Fauci also indicated that we should look to Europe as an example, as European countries saw a 9% increase in cases following their plateau.

The states’ lifting of restrictions prior to receiving guidance from the CDC has been denounced by the White House. Last week, Dr. Fauci referred to the decisions of Texas and Mississippi to lift mask mandates as “inexplicable,” and President Biden additionally called it “Neanderthal thinking.” The US is still “in the eye of the hurricane,” according to Michael Orsterholm, an epidemiologist who advised President Biden’s transition team. Osterholm told NBCs Meet the Press that we need to be greatly concerned with the B117 variant of the virus, even though we are seeing improvement overall. This variant is 50% more infectious than the other variants which are in the US. “We do have to keep America as safe as we can from this virus by not letting up on any of the public health measures we’ve taken and we need to get people vaccinated as quickly as we can,” said Osterholm.

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