Fauci says April 30 extension is 'a wise and prudent decision'

 

Dr. Anthony FauciAnthony FauciOvernight Defense: Trump extends deployment of National Guard troops to aid with coronavirus response | Pentagon considers reducing quarantine to 10 days | Lawmakers push for removal of Nazi headstones from VA cemeteries Don't move the COVID-19 goalpost Overnight Health Care: Sewage testing gives clues of coronavirus | White House says Trump would take hydroxychloroquine again | Trump marks 'very sad milestone' of 100K virus deaths MORE, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who is also helping lead the White House's coronavirus task force, called President Trump’s decision to keep the government’s current social distancing guidelines in place through the end of April a “wise” one. 

“We feel that the mitigation that we’re doing right now is having an effect. It’s very difficult to quantitate it because you have two dynamic things going on at the same time,” Fauci said a press conference outside the White House on Sunday. 

“You have the virus going up, and you have the mitigation trying to push it down,” he continued. But Fauci added that Trump’s decision “to extend this mitigation process until the end of end April ... was a wise and prudent decision.”

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“Dr. Birx and I spent a considerable amount of time going over the all the data, why we felt this was a best choice of us, and the president accepted it,” Fauci continued, referring to White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx.

Fauci, who warned earlier on Sunday that millions in the U.S. could be infected by the virus in the coming weeks given the rapid pace of the COVID-19 outbreak, added that the possibility of the number of cases ballooning in the country played “a role in our decision in trying to make sure that we don’t do something prematurely and pull back when we should be pushing.” 

Trump drew headlines last week after he floated the idea of lifting restrictions in certain areas of the country in efforts to boost the economy, as a number of states have ordered nonessential business to close in recent weeks to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

“You can destroy a country this way, by closing it down, where it literally goes from being the most prosperous,” Trump said then.

Shortly after his comments on Tuesday, Fauci also said Trump’s timeline should be “flexible.”

“You can look at a date, but you’ve got to be very flexible and on a literally day-by-day and week-by-week basis. You need to evaluate the feasibility of what you’re trying to do," Fauci said.

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However, in his remarks on Sunday, Trump said the White House would keep its social distancing guidelines in place to limit the spread of the virus in the U.S., which has reported more than 139,000 confirmed cases so far, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

“Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the war is won,” Trump said. “That would be the greatest loss of all.”