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Fauci: 'You don't make the timeline. The virus makes the timeline'

Dr. Anthony FauciAnthony FauciOvernight Health Care: Biden unveils virus plan and urges patience | Fauci says it's 'liberating' working under Biden | House to move quickly on COVID-19 relief Fauci: We are not 'starting from scratch' on vaccine distribution Fauci says it's 'liberating' working under Biden MORE, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is warning against attempts to place concrete time limits on the coronavirus pandemic, telling CNN’s Chris CuomoChris CuomoKen Burns says US is experiencing its fourth 'great crisis' CNN's Smerconish lauds Trump on ,000 relief checks: 'Most effective thing he's done' post election Pennsylvania AG calls Ted Cruz a 'sad sack' after Trump asks for his help in Texas lawsuit MORE “the virus makes the timeline.”

Asked Wednesday night about varying projections from different states and jurisdictions for how long social distancing measures and shutdowns will stay in place, Cuomo said “it seems like the timeline is getting extended farther out, not that things are going better than expected anywhere.”

“You’ve got to be realistic, and you’ve got to understand that you don’t make the timeline, the virus makes the timeline,” Fauci replied.

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“So you’ve got to respond to what you see happen, and if you keep seeing this acceleration, it doesn’t matter what you say, one week, two weeks, three weeks, you’ve got to go with what the situation on the ground is,” he added.

Fauci said that, in some cases, projections of months may refer to how long it takes for the infection curve to fully descend, whereas flattening may begin “in a relatively shorter period of time.”

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He added, however, that “you can’t make an arbitrary decision until you see what you’re dealing with.”

President TrumpDonald TrumpIran's leader vows 'revenge,' posting an image resembling Trump Former Sanders spokesperson: Biden 'backing away' from 'populist offerings' Justice Dept. to probe sudden departure of US attorney in Atlanta after Trump criticism MORE has said he wants to reopen the economy by Easter, sparking pushback from state officials and health experts.

Deaths in the U.S. from the novel coronavirus surpassed 1,000 on Thursday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, while domestic cases exceeded 69,000.