To the states who are rolling back COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has a clear warning.
“It’s certainly, from a public health standpoint, ill-advised,” Fauci said during an interview with CNN’s Erin Burnett. He said the latest decline in new cases and hospitalization rates didn’t warrant such quick restriction reversals. He recalled previous case declines that led to states reopening, prompting spikes in cases last spring and summer.
“We had rebounds which were very troublesome,” Fauci said. “What we don’t need right now is another surge.” The winter holiday season brought on unprecedented surges in cases and the US marked over half a million COVID-19-related deaths last month.
Both Texas and Mississippi announced complete reopenings this week. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas called restrictions such as mask mandates and social distancing as “arbitrary,” per the Huffington Post.
“They’re not arbitrary,” Fauci said in response. “They’re based on evidence and data from science. We know that these interventions work, it’s very clear: When you implement them, you see the cases go down. When you pull back, the cases go up.”
With the nationwide vaccine distribution increasing, Fauci says it’s not the time to let up on restrictions.
“Now’s not the time to pull back,” he said. “Now’s the time to really crush this by doing both public health measures and accelerating the vaccinations like we’re doing.”
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