A senior health official set to testify before the US Senate will warn legislators about the risks of reopening the economy too soon, saying it could lead to “needless suffering and death”, according to the New York Times.
Monday’s report about the warning from Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a leading member of the White House’s coronavirus taskforce, came as President Donald Trump pressed states to lift lockdown measures, saying “people are dying in the lockdown position, too”.
The top infectious disease expert was referring to a White House plan that lays out guidelines for state officials considering reopening their economies. The recommendations include registering a sustained decrease in coronavirus infections and implementing robust testing and contact-tracing programs.
Fauci, who will appear before Congress remotely on Tuesday, told the New York Times’ healthcare and COVID-19 reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg in an email that his main message to legislators would be on “the danger of trying to open the country prematurely”.
“If we skip over the checkpoints in the guidelines to ‘Open America Again,’ then we risk the danger of multiple outbreaks throughout the country,” Fauci said. “This will not only result in needless suffering and death but would actually set us back on our quest to return to normal.”