Fauci Says All States Should Enforce Coronavirus Stay-at-Home Orders As Trump Resists Issuing Nationwide Mandate

During a CNN interview Thursday evening, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and a prominent member of President Donald Trump's coronavirus task force, said he believes that all states should have stay at home orders in place to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

During the CNN segment, network anchorperson Anderson Cooper asked Dr. Fauci, "Knowing the science, does it make sense to you that some states are still not issuing stay at home orders?"

While asking the question, the screen showed a map of which U.S. states have yet to issue such orders. The states include Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.

Cooper continued, "Whether there should be a federally mandated directive for that or not, I guess that's more of a political question, but just scientifically, doesn't everybody have to be on the same page with this stuff?"

"Yeah," Fauci responded, "I think so, Anderson. I don't understand why that's not happening."

Fauci said, "The tension between federally mandated versus states rights to do what they want is something I don't want to get into. But if you look at what's going on in this country, I just don't understand why we're not doing that. We really should be."

Newsweek has reached out to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) for additional information about the director's thoughts on the necessity of a federally mandated national stay at home order. NIAID didn't respond by the time of publication.

Dr. Anthony Fauci
Dr. Anthony Fauci (C), director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases awaits the start of the daily briefing by the White House Coronavirus Task Force April 1, 2020 in Washington, DC. Win McNamee/Getty

Fauci's view contrasts with Trump's statement at Wednesday's coronavirus briefing that he has no plans to issue a national stay at home order. Trump said he believed the decision should be left up to governors since the virus affects each state differently.

The 10 states without stay at home orders are all overseen by Republican governors. Despite that, some mayors of large cities within those states have issued stay at home orders for locals.

Lawrence Gostin, director of the O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University, told The Hill that southern and midwest states haven't issued the same social distancing measures as others, leaving non-essential businesses and public spaces open to general use.

"It's in those states that [Trump] has the most influence to encourage particular red-state governors to do a lockdown," Gostin said. "He could give them political cover to do it. He doesn't have legal power, but he has enormous influence, particularly in the South and the Midwest, to try to have a much more nationally uniform strategy rather than an utterly inconsistent patchwork across the country."

Dr. Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, another physician on Trump's coronavirus task force, predicted that between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans could die from the coronavirus, even if citizens observe the federal government's current suggested social distancing guidelines. The federal guidelines issued so far include avoiding restaurants and bars, canceling unnecessary travel, working from home, avoiding gatherings of 10 or more people and staying six feet apart from others.