Dr Anthony Fauci admits Americans are ‘fatigued’ by COVID-19 restrictions and says numbers would have to ‘get really, really bad’ before he advocates another national lockdown.
The infectious disease expert made the remarks in a new interview with 60 Minutes, set to air in full this coming Sunday.
Fauci’s proclamation comes despite the number of daily infections hitting a two-month high on Thursday, with more than 63,000 Americans testing positive to the coronavirus in the space of 24 hours.
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In a new 60 Minutes interview, Dr Anthony Fauci admits Americans are ‘fatigued’ by COVID-19 restrictions and says numbers would have to ‘get really, really bad’ before he advocates another national lockdown
In a preview clip of Fauci’s 60 Minutes interview, released on Friday, CBS correspondent Jon LaPook asks the doctor what would have to happen before he urges the government to put people back under stay-at-home orders.
‘Things would have to get really, really bad,’ Fauci replied.
‘First of all, the country is fatigued with restrictions. So we want to use public health measures, not to get in the way of opening the economy, but to being a safe gateway to opening the economy’.
He went on to state that Americans have more than two choices, and do not have to decide between a complete shutdown or an unmitigated reopening of the economy.
Instead, he claims, Americans should implement public health measures as they try to resume life as normal, even with the threat of the virus lingering.
‘Let’s put ‘shutdown’ away and say, “We’re going to use public health measures to help us safely get to where we want to go”‘, he stated.
On Friday, America surpassed more than eight million COVID-19 infections. More than 218,000 citizens have died from the disease.
The number of daily infections hitting a two-month high on Thursday, with more than 63,000 Americans testing positive to the coronavirus in the space of 24 hours
Fauci has been advocating for public health measures – including social distancing and mask wearing – for several months.
He has blasted other experts who say those measures should be put to the side, so that the disease can spread in order to achieve herd immunity.
On Thursday, Fauci called that proposition ‘ridiculous’ when asked about he anti-lockdown Great Barrington Declaration that was published earlier this week.
The declaration, which was written by experts at Oxford, Harvard and Stanford universities, calls for the protection of people most at risk of dying from Covid-19 while the rest of the population returns to life as normal and eventually achieve herd immunity.
Fauci told Good Morning America that parts of the declaration are ‘fooling people’ because certain elements are indisputably favorable, including not wanting a second lockdown and the need to protect the vulnerable.
He argued, however, that it hides the fact that 30 percent of the population have underlying health conditions that make them more susceptible to the more serious outcomes of the virus.
Dr Anthony Fauci argued on Thursday that letting Covid-19 spread in the United States to achieve herd immunity is ‘ridiculous’ as infections in the United States reach a two-month high
‘This idea that we have the power to protect the vulnerable is total nonsense because history has shown that’s not the case,’ Fauci said.
‘If you just let things rip and let the infection go – no masks, crowds – that quite frankly is ridiculous.
‘What that will do is there will be so many people in the community that you can’t shelter, that you can’t protect, who are going to get sick and get serious consequences.
‘If you talk to anybody who has any experience in epidemiology and infectious diseases they’ll tell you it’s risky and you’ll wind up with many more infections of vulnerable people, which will lead to hospitalizations and deaths.
‘I think we’ve got to look that square in the eye and say it’s nonsense.’
The declaration, which was published on Monday, has since been signed by more than 9,800 medical and public health scientists.
The scientists behind the declaration have argued that those who are not vulnerable to Covid-19 should be allowed to resume life as normal.
They say that better hygiene such as hand-washing and self-isolation for people who are ill should carry on for everyone but social distancing could be done away with.
The scientists argue that as the virus spreads through people who are at a low risk of dying, the population will gradually build immunity that will slow down the spread of Covid-19 in the future.
The petition, which appears to be aimed at both the US and the UK, has been set up in a bid to try and prevent the drastic lockdown measures that were used in the spring from returning as the weather cools.
THE GREAT BARRINGTON DECLARATION
Who created the Great Barrington Declaration?
The declaration was written by Dr Martin Kulldorff (Harvard University), Dr Sunetra Gupta (Oxford University) and Dr Jay Bhattacharya (Stanford University).
What does the declaration say?
‘As infectious disease epidemiologists and public health scientists we have grave concerns about the damaging physical and mental health impacts of the prevailing Covid-19 policies, and recommend an approach we call Focused Protection.
‘Coming from both the left and right, and around the world, we have devoted our careers to protecting people. Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health.
‘The results (to name a few) include lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings and deteriorating mental health – leading to greater excess mortality in years to come, with the working class and younger members of society carrying the heaviest burden. Keeping students out of school is a grave injustice.
‘Keeping these measures in place until a vaccine is available will cause irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed.
‘Fortunately, our understanding of the virus is growing. We know that vulnerability to death from Covid-19 is more than a thousand-fold higher in the old and infirm than the young. Indeed, for children, Covid-19 is less dangerous than many other harms, including influenza.
‘As immunity builds in the population, the risk of infection to all – including the vulnerable – falls. We know that all populations will eventually reach herd immunity – i.e. the point at which the rate of new infections is stable – and that this can be assisted by (but is not dependent upon) a vaccine. Our goal should therefore be to minimize mortality and social harm until we reach herd immunity.
‘The most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity, is to allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk. We call this Focused Protection.
‘Adopting measures to protect the vulnerable should be the central aim of public health responses to Covid-19. By way of example, nursing homes should use staff with acquired immunity and perform frequent PCR testing of other staff and all visitors. Staff rotation should be minimized. Retired people living at home should have groceries and other essentials delivered to their home. When possible, they should meet family members outside rather than inside. A comprehensive and detailed list of measures, including approaches to multi-generational households, can be implemented, and is well within the scope and capability of public health professionals.
‘Those who are not vulnerable should immediately be allowed to resume life as normal. Simple hygiene measures, such as hand washing and staying home when sick should be practiced by everyone to reduce the herd immunity threshold. Schools and universities should be open for in-person teaching. Extracurricular activities, such as sports, should be resumed. Young low-risk adults should work normally, rather than from home.
‘Restaurants and other businesses should open. Arts, music, sport and other cultural activities should resume. People who are more at risk may participate if they wish, while society as a whole enjoys the protection conferred upon the vulnerable by those who have built up herd immunity.’
View the full petition on The Great Barrington Declaration website.