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Fauci to public: 'You have to start taking seriously' the steps to slow coronavirus

Fauci to public: 'You have to start taking seriously' the steps to slow coronavirus
© Greg Nash

Dr. Anthony FauciAnthony FauciFauci quotes 'The Godfather' in response to latest Trump attacks Overnight Health Care: Trump takes criticism of Fauci to a new level | GOP Health Committee chairman defends Fauci | Birx confronted Pence about Atlas Trump's scorched earth style overshadows campaign's message in final weeks MORE, a top official at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, urged the American public on Tuesday to take seriously the threat of coronavirus and change behaviors to slow its spread.

“We would like the country to realize that as a nation we can’t be doing the kinds of things we were doing a few months ago,” Fauci said during a White House press briefing.

“It doesn’t matter if you're in a state that has no cases or one case, you have to start taking seriously what you can do now, if and when the infections will come, and they will come,” he added.

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Fauci pointed to recommendations that the Trump administration posted at coronavirus.gov that include steps like avoiding handshakes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also issued guidance warning people over 60 years old and those with underlying health conditions to avoid crowded places, reconsider unnecessary travel and stock up on supplies.

“Although we keep coming in and saying — appropriately — that as a nation the risk is relatively low, there are parts of the country right now that are having community spread in which the risk there is clearly a bit more than that,” Fauci added, referring to Washington state, California, New York and Florida.

Asked about closing schools, Fauci said he did not think it makes sense to close all schools nationwide, but that targeted closures could be part of a larger conversation about steps to mitigate the spread of the virus.

Some experts have recommended steps like canceling large gatherings. 

Fauci said communities should “do real mitigation sometime before you think you really need it.”