Dr. Fauci Says States Shouldn't Reopen if Coronavirus Cases Haven't Plateaued

Dr. Anthony Fauci said states should not reopen if local coronavirus infections have not plateaued, warning that a failure to handle new cases could result in a second peak.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) director told CNN on Thursday that states would be taking a "significant risk" if they decided to reopen before they were capable of isolating those with COVID-19 and carrying out contact tracing.

He also noted that the the process of reopening would be "a little different" in each state, city and region of the country.

"The message is to look at the clearly articulated guidelines for opening America again," Fauci told Anderson Cooper 360 last night.

"If you take a look at them, even though the 30 day mitigation period has ended, the first component of opening America again is looking for a gateway, which means you have to go down over a fourteen day period... in the number of cases that you have before you can even think about going to phase one."

Dr. Anthony Fauci
Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks during a meeting with President Donald Trump and Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards on April 29, 2020. Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Under advice set out in President Donald Trump's three-phase guide to rolling back quarantine measures, local authorities are told not to enter the first phase of lifting lockdown measures unless a downward trajectory of influenza-like disease has been reported over a two week period.

The criteria also asks states not to exit lockdown until hospitals are treating people without the need for crisis care.

Later in his interview with CNN, Fauci said: "The concern that I have is that there are some states, some cities and what have you, who are looking at that and leapfrogging over the first checkpoint.

"Obviously you could get away with that, but you're making a really significant risk that if you do that, and you don't have in place the absolute, clear cut capability of identifying, isolating and doing the contact tracing.

"There's no doubt in my mind that when you pull back mitigation, you're going to start seeing cases crop up here and there. And if you're not able to handle them, you're going to see another peak."

Fauci also warned that returning to a peak of coronavirus cases would force some states to "turn the clock back" and return to mitigation tactics.

"Take a look at the guidelines. They don't tell you because you've reached the end of the 30 day mitigation period, that all of a sudden you switch a light on, and you just go for it. That's not the way to do it," Fauci added.

"Each state, each city, each region is going to be a little different. And there may be some situations where people can back into that pretty quickly, because they've already passed the first gateway. But others should not do it if they're still on the way up and they haven't plateaued."

Newsweek has contacted NIAID for comment and will update this article with any response.

Fauci issued his warning to state authorities as some planned to reopen despite the ongoing spread of the novel coronavirus.

The extent to which the states are easing measures varies, with some taking only the most cautious steps as others roll back restrictions further. According to a CNN tally, 31 states are set to begin reopening in some form over the coming days.

America has reported more than one million confirmed novel coronavirus cases so far, along with 63,109 related deaths, The New York Times coronavirus tracker reports.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on Using Face Coverings to Slow Spread of COVID-19

  • CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • A simple cloth face covering can help slow the spread of the virus by those infected and by those who do not exhibit symptoms.
  • Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items. Guides are offered by the CDC. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html)
  • Cloth face coverings should be washed regularly. A washing machine will suffice.
  • Practice safe removal of face coverings by not touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after removing the covering.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (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

  • Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
  • If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
  • Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove 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 the mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
  • Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
  • The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.
Dr. Fauci Says States Shouldn't Reopen if Coronavirus Cases Haven't Plateaued | U.S.