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Fauci: ‘If it looks like you’re overreacting, you’re probably doing the right thing’

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci said Sunday that it was better to err on the side of caution in coronavirus mitigation, even if the steps taken appear to be an overreaction.

“If you just leave the virus to its own devices, it will go way up like we’ve seen in Italy. That’s not going to happen if we do what we’re attempting to do and are doing,” Fauci told CBS’s Margaret Brennan on “Face the Nation.”

“The way you get ahead of it is that, as I try to explain to people, that I want people to assume that … we are overreacting because if it looks like you’re overreacting, you’re probably doing the right thing,” he added.

Fauci reiterated that public health officials are currently focused on a two-pronged strategy for the coronavirus.

“One is preventing new infections from coming in, and the other is containment and mitigation within the country, and it is correct that infections are going to go up. Our job is to make sure it doesn’t do the maximum peak and actually blunts,” he said.

“Within that blunt, there will be new infections, and we need to make sure it doesn’t get to that really bad peak,” Fauci said.

Fauci reiterated that Americans should avoid crowded places to prevent the spread of the virus, and when asked by Brennan whether U.S. officials would ever feel the need to close down bars and restaurants like some nations have done, he responded, “You don’t want to make a pronouncement that no one should ever go into a restaurant. I think that might be overkill right now, but everything is on the table.”

Asked about the mass availability of testing for the virus, Fauci said, “I would hope based on what we’ve heard from the CEOs of the companies that are now getting involved that they’re going to be getting the tests out there … quite soon. They’re talking within several days to a week.” 

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