Fauci: Gradual rollback of coronavirus restrictions could 'probably' start next month

Anthony FauciAnthony FauciFlorida hackers change highway sign to read 'Arrest Fauci' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - GOP torpedoes election bill; infrastructure talks hit snag White House admits July 4 vaccine marker will be missed MORE, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Sunday that some parts of the U.S. could possibly begin rolling back restrictions put in place in response to the coronavirus as early as next month. 

“I think it could probably start, at least in some ways, maybe next month,” Fauci said on CNN’s “State of the Union” when asked when the restrictions may begin to be lifted. 

“We are hoping at the end of the month we can look around and say, 'Is there any element here we can safely and cautiously start pulling back on?' If so, do it. If not, then just continue to hunker down,” Fauci added. 

Fauci also stressed that reentry measures will depend on the situation in each area of the country and will have to be gradual. 

“It is not going to be a light switch,” Fauci said. 

He added that officials will have to look at the nature of the outbreak that a region has already experienced as well as the threat of an outbreak it may not have experienced yet. The situation in New York, the state that's been hit hardest by the pandemic, will be different from the situation in Arkansas, he said. 

Fauci also expressed confidence in state governors to weigh the risks of reentry. He said he’s been “deeply impressed” by how much governors care about the balance of preserving the health of the public while weighing the economic impact of restriction measures. 

Fauci reiterated his belief that voters will be able to head to the polls as usual on Election Day in November but said there is potential for a second outbreak that could impact the process. 

“I believe that if we have a good, measured way of rolling into steps towards normality that we hope by the time we get to November we’ll be able to do it in the way that’s the standard way,” Fauci said of voting. “However — I don't want to be the pessimistic person — there is always a possibility as we get into next fall and beginning of early winter that we can see a rebound.”

Fauci said he hopes if there is a rebound in the fall that the U.S. will have a more effective way to handle the situation than it does now in terms of testing availability and treatment.