Fauci defends coronavirus lockdowns as saving ‘millions of lives’

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Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, said Wednesday that lockdowns meant to stem the spread of the coronavirus saved “millions of lives” in an interview.

“When you give advice about what should you be doing — should you be out there, should you be shutting down earlier versus later? I mean, people get confused. And they say, ‘Wow, you know, we shut down and we caused a great disruption in society. We caused great economic pain, loss of jobs,’ ” Fauci said in an interview with the Department of Health and Human Services’s (HHS) “Learning Curve” podcast.

“But if you look at the data, now that papers have come out literally two days ago, the fact that we shut down when we did and the rest of the world did, has saved hundreds of millions of infections and millions of lives,” he added.

“And yet, there are those who say, ‘You shut down, you did destructive things by disrupting the economy.’ And others say, ‘Well, if you save so many infections by shutting down, why didn’t you shut down two weeks earlier? You could have saved many more lives.'”

A study published in Nature last week indicated shutdowns and stay-at-home orders prevented roughly 60 million coronavirus infections in the U.S.

As of Thursday afternoon, there are more than2.1 million confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S., and nearly 118,000 people have died from the disease. 

In the same interview, Fauci lamented “anti-science bias” in the U.S. that he said has been a hindrance to widespread compliance with public health measures.

“One of the problems we face in the United States is that unfortunately, there is a combination of an anti-science bias that people are — for reasons that sometimes are, you know, inconceivable and not understandable — they just don’t believe science and they don’t believe authority,” Fauci said.

“So when they see someone up in the White House, which has an air of authority to it, who’s talking about science, that there are some people who just don’t believe that — and that’s unfortunate because, you know, science is truth,” he concluded.

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