May 12, 2020 - Health

Fauci warns of dire effects of states failing to follow reopening guidelines

Anthony Fauci testified to a Senate committee on Tuesday that the "consequences could be really serious" for states and cities that reopen without meeting federal guidelines.

Why it matters: Dozens of states have taken steps to reopen their economies, but few — if any — have met the Trump administration's recommendations for a 14-day "downward trajectory" in reported cases and infrastructure for "robust" testing and contact tracing capabilities.

  • Fauci stressed that even states that are reopening at an "appropriate pace" and "under the best of circumstances" should prepare for more cases when they pull back from mitigation.

What he's saying:

“I feel, if [premature opening] occurs, there is a real risk that you will trigger an outbreak that you may not be able to control. Which, in fact, paradoxically will set you back, not only leading to some suffering and death that could be avoided, but could even set you back on the road to trying to get economic recovery. It would almost turn the clock back rather than going forward. That is my major concern."

The big picture: Fauci, who testified virtually alongside CDC director Robert Redfield, FDA commissioner Stephan Hahn, and testing coordinator Adm. Brett Giroir, said that it's unlikely a coronavirus vaccine will be available in time for the fall semester. He also testified that the coronavirus death toll is "almost certainly" higher than the official count.

Go deeper: The states where coronavirus is spreading fastest

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