Dr. Anthony Fauci, the face of the White House coronavirus task force, warned in testimony Tuesday before the Senate Health Committee that reopening the economy before certain “checkpoints” set up in the Trump administration’s coronavirus recovery plan are met could bring “serious” consequences.
“As I have said many times publicly, what we have worked out is a guideline framework for how to open America again,” Fauci said, referencing a set of guidelines the White House has released for states and localities to begin opening their economies. In order to proceed to the first of three stages, states would need to see an uninterrupted decrease in coronavirus cases over a 14-day period.
“Depending on the dynamics of an outbreak in a particular region, state, city or area, that would really determine the speed and the pace with which one does reenter or reopen,” Fauci said. “If some areas – cities states or what have you – jump over those barriers, checkpoints and prematurely open up without having the capability of being able to respond effectively, and efficiently, my concern is that we will start to see little spikes that might turn into outbreaks.”
Fauci warned that prematurely lifting coronavirus restrictions closing schools and businesses and limiting travel would lead to “suffering and death” and “turn the clock back instead of going forward.”
When asked by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., what could happen if areas do ignore the “checkpoints,” Fauci said, “The consequences could be really serious.”