Fauci Urges States With 'Serious' Coronavirus Surges to 'Seriously Look at Shutting Down'

As several U.S. states report cases of the novel coronavirus in increasing numbers, infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci compelled leaders to consider reimplementing previous restrictions on Wednesday.

During an interview featured on the Wall Street Journal's The Journal podcast, Fauci discussed outbreak resurgences occurring across the country and offered advice for regions where virus transmission has spiked.

"I think any state that is having a serious problem, that state should seriously look at shutting down," said the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director.

"It's not for me to say, because each state is different," Fauci continued, although he reiterated a series of health guidelines that officials should enforce and all U.S. residents should follow. His recommendations included closing bars as well as indoor dining at restaurants with seating plans that do not allow for adequate social distancing between patrons.

"Make sure people wear masks. Make sure they don't congregate in crowds. Make sure they keep their distance," he added. "If you do those simple public health measures...guarantee you're going to see that curve come down."

While COVID-19 cases surge past 3 million in the U.S., a handful of states have seen substantial increases in new infections and subsequent hospitalizations as a result of the virus. Health officials in Florida, Texas, Arizona and California have reported particularly severe upticks over the past five weeks. In each state, outbreak curves began to trend upward roughly two weeks to one month after businesses and public spaces began to reopen.

"Some states went too fast," Fauci said on Wednesday, in reference to reopening procedures. He also noted instances where leaders and health departments initiated reopening plans according to federal guidelines, but "people in the state didn't listen and just threw caution to the wind."

In response to recent outbreak statistics, governors in Texas, Arizona and California have announced new health orders and rolled back certain reopening permissions. Texas Governor Greg Abbott and California Governor Gavin Newsom issued mandatory face mask requirements before the end of June. In Arizona and Florida, local officials in hard-hit areas have issued face mask orders for residents of their jurisdictions.

Bars have temporarily closed across Texas and Arizona, as well as in parts of California and Florida. Last week, Newsom ordered businesses across a number of industry sectors to temporarily close in almost 20 California counties.

Newsweek reached out to state health departments in Florida, Arizona and Texas for comments regarding Fauci's Wednesday remarks but did not receive replies in time for publication.

Dr. Anthony Fauci
Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks during a Senate Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., on June 30. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director suggested U.S. states currently seeing COVID-19 spikes should "seriously look at shutting down" again during a Wednesday interview. Al Drago/Pool/Getty Images