Rep. Devin Nunes Says Coronavirus Should Not Stop Healthy People Going out: 'Go to Your Local Pub'

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) said that the new coronavirus should not deter healthy people from going out and patronizing restaurants and bars and that local businesses need the boost.

The former chair of the house intelligence committee told Fox News about his concerns about the economic impact of the outbreak.

"And where there [are] a lot of concerns with the economy here because people are scared to go out. But I would just say, one of the things you can do, if you are healthy, you and your family, it's a great time, to go out to a local restaurant, likely you can get in easily."

"Let's not hurt the working people in this country that are relying on wages and tips to keep their small business going.

Congressman Devin Nunes
Congressman Devin Nunes is pictured in Bakersfield, California, on February 19, 2020. He told Fox News that despite the coronavirus outbreak, people should not be afraid to go out to pubs and restaurants. JIM WATSON/Getty Images

"So don't run to the grocery store and buy, you know, $4,000 of food, go to your local pub," he told the anchor, Maria Bartiromo on Sunday.

Nunes' advice was at odds with the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci, who said in several television interviews on Sunday that he was concerned about how many people were still frequenting bars and clubs.

Fauci told CNN that he would like to "see a dramatic diminution of the personal interaction we see in restaurants and bars. Whatever it takes to do that, that is what I would like to see."

He said that younger people "are not immune or safe from getting seriously ill," and even if they do not get sickened, they could pass it on to somebody who is vulnerable, such as an elderly person, adding, "that's why everybody has to take this seriously, even the young."

The comments by Nunes were questioned by many on social media, including the political author Greg Olear, who wrote on Twitter to his 121,000 followers, "Devin Nunes, doing his part to exacerbate a global health crisis."

Science blogger Phil Plait wrote to his 616,000 followers, "This is irresponsibly, stupidly dangerous, and exactly the sort of thing a lot of us have been warning about for years: The GOP's fanatic loyalty to protect Trump and his lies is literally threatening American lives."

Another person wrote on Twitter, "We cannot flatten the curve with people like Devin Nunes on national television telling folks to go out..Lord help us all." Newsweek has contacted Nunes for comment.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of COVID-19

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing;
  • When caring for the sick; before; during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • If you feel unwell seek medical care early and call local health authorities in advance.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities, follow guidance.

Mask usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks.
  • Clean hands after disposing of mask, do not reuse single-use masks.