U.S-Fauci: ‘Serious consequences’ if US states reopen fast

The U.S. government’s top infectious disease expert issued a blunt warning Tuesday that cities and states could “turn back the clock” and see more COVID-19 deaths and economic damage alike if they lift coronavirus stay-at-home orders too fast – a sharp contrast as President Donald Trump pushes to right a free-falling economy.

“There is a real risk that you will trigger an outbreak that you may not be able to control,” Dr. Anthony Fauci warned a Senate committee and the nation as more than two dozen states have begun to lift their lockdowns as a first step toward economic recovery.

The advice from Fauci and other key government officials – delivered by dramatic, sometimes awkward teleconference – was at odds with a president who urges on protests of state-ordered restraints and insists that “day after day, we’re making tremendous strides.”

Underscoring the seriousness of the pandemic that has reached Congress and the White House, Fauci and other experts testified from their homes. Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander chaired the hearing from the study in his cabin in Tennessee, although several committee members attended in person in an eerily empty Capitol Hill chamber, masked and sitting 6 feet apart.

More infections and deaths are inevitable as people again start gathering, but how prepared communities are to stamp out those sparks will determine how bad the rebound is, Fauci told the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

“There is no doubt, even under the best of circumstances, when you pull back on mitigation you will see some cases appear,” Fauci said.

Move too quickly and “the consequences could be really serious,” he added. It not only would cause “some suffering and death that could be avoided, but could even set you back on the road to try to get economic recovery.”

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