Fauci: ‘We’re not going to get a national lockdown’
As the U.S. continues to set records for daily coronavirus infectious and hospitalizations, Anthony Fauci said on Sunday that Americans should not expect a national lockdown and should instead anticipate “surgical-type” local restrictions.
During an interview with Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Fauci once again called for the nation to “double down” on public health measures such as wearing masks, washing hands and practicing social distancing while waiting for a vaccine to become widely available — likely late next year.
But Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said he does not anticipate or believe a nationwide lockdown or widespread stay-at-home orders would be effective to reduce the rate of infections but that they would have greater impacts on piecemeal, local levels.
“I think that likely will happen, Jake, if we don’t turn around this surge,” Fauci said of local restrictions. “We’re not going to get a national lockdown. I think that’s very clear. But I think what we’re going to start seeing in the local levels, be they governors or mayors or people at the local level, will do, as you said, very surgical-type of restrictions, which are the functional equivalent of a local lockdown.”
Fauci, however, did not rule out the notion of national restrictions if cases continue to spike.
“If things really get bad and you put your foot on the pedal and yet still you have the surge, you may need to take the extra step that you’re talking about,” Fauci said.
As officials have advised families not to hold large gatherings over the holidays, Fauci acknowledged that the nation is dealing with “COVID fatigue.” He said that despite uplifting news about the potential for an effective vaccine, it would take at least another year before the nation would be able to gradually get back to a place where gatherings could be held safely.
When Tapper asked Fauci when Americans could “safely gather together” for family events such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, Fauci said it would depend not only on the development of a vaccine but also on having one widely deployed. Even then, he said, things probably would not normalize until mid-to-late 2021.
“We could start getting things back to relative normal as we get into the second and third quarter of the year where people can start thinking about doing things that were too dangerous just months ago,” Fauci said, emphasizing that it would still be a very gradual return to normal. “We can’t just wish it happening.”