It’s Too ‘Risky’ To Drop Mask Mandates And Restrictions Right Now, Fauci Says
Dr. Anthony Fauci says President Joe Biden's goal of a more normal Fourth of July holiday is realistic, but only if state governments and the American public do not prematurely abandon precautions. He points to plateauing infections in the U.S. and spikes in Europe as warning signs.
The New York Times:
Dropping Mask Mandates, Even As Vaccinations Speed Up, Is ‘Risky Business,’ Dr. Fauci Warns.
With millions of Americans vaccinated and states dropping mask and dining restrictions at the one-year mark of the pandemic, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci warned on Sunday against loosening restrictions prematurely, despite the recent week-over-week decreases in new coronavirus cases. “Even though the decline was steep, we absolutely need to avoid the urge to say ‘Oh, everything is going great,’” said Dr. Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, on the NBC program “Meet the Press.” (3/15)
Fauci: Pulling Back Covid Measures Could Endanger Biden's July 4th Prediction
[Dr.] Fauci expressed concerns that plateaus in levels of infection are often followed by surges. "When you see [infections] plateauing at a level of anywhere between 50,000 and 65,000 cases a day, that is absolutely no time to declare victory, because we know from previous surges that we've had over the year that when you see that leveling off at a high level, there's always the risk of a surge back up," Fauci said. "And in fact, unfortunately, that is exactly what's happening in Europe right now." (Parthasarathy, 3/14)
Fauci Says Guidelines 'Will Be Much More Liberal' By July 4 If US Cases Drop
Federal Covid-19 guidelines "will be much more liberal" by the Fourth of July if US cases drop as more Americans are vaccinated, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday. "If by the time we get to the Fourth of July, with the rollout of the vaccine, we get the level of infection so low -- I'm not going to be able to tell you exactly what the specific guidelines of the (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) are, but I can tell you for sure (guidelines) will be much more liberal than they are right now about what you can do," the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union." (Cole, 3/14)
Fauci Says Europe Covid Surge Is Warning As U.S. Lifts Restrictions
On Fox News, Fauci explained that the recent spike in cases throughout Europe was due in part to a relaxation of safety measures. “When you see that leveling off at a high level, there is always a risk of a surge back up and in fact, unfortunately, that is exactly what is happening in Europe right now,” Fauci said on “Fox News Sunday.” “They [Europeans] thought they were home free and they weren’t and now they are seeing an increase,” he added. “If you wait just a bit longer to give the vaccine program a chance to increase the protection in the community, then it makes pulling back much less risky.” (Macias, 3/14)
In related developments from Italy —
Italy Imposes Easter Lockdown Amid COVID-19 Spike
Italy will be placed under lockdown from March 15 through at least Easter weekend as coronavirus cases continue to rise across the country, Italian health officials announced on Friday. This is the second year the country has needed to impose lockdown measures over the Easter holiday due to COVID-19. Italy was the first in the world to implement a nationwide lockdown last year, CBS News reports. (Gonzalez, 3/13)