Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Sunday that the nation likely “could have saved lives” by acting earlier on the coronavirus outbreak.
“Obviously, if we had, right from the beginning, shut everything down, it may have been a little bit different,” the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told Jake Tapper on CNN’s State of the Union.
He continued: “But there was a lot of pushback about shutting things down back then.”
The admission from Fauci follows yesterday’s bombshell New York Times story finding Fauci and other top administration officials urged Trump to take aggressive action weeks before he did. “We look at it from a pure health standpoint” Fauci said on Sunday. “We make a recommendation. Often the recommendation is taken. Sometimes it’s not.”
"We make a recommendation," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, when asked by @JakeTapper about reports that he and other top officials called for social distancing in February. "Often the recommendation is taken. Sometimes it's not. But it is what it is. We are where we are right now." pic.twitter.com/sw8xYZILB4
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) April 12, 2020
While President Trump has said he is eager to lift stay-at-home restrictions, Fauci continued to voice caution: Lifting the measures shouldn’t be an “all or none” proposition, but should be a gradual process that could “probably start, at least in some ways, maybe next month.” He warned that lifting the restrictions too abruptly could make things worse: “If all of a sudden we decide, ‘OK, it’s May, whatever,’ and we just turn the switch on, that could be a real problem.”
Asked about whether Americans would be able to go to the polls in November, Fauci said: “I hope so.” He continued: “There is always the possibility, as we get into next fall and the beginning of early winter, that we could see a rebound.”