Fauci: Decisions to ease virus restrictions 'inexplicable'

Anthony FauciAnthony FauciCNN: Every county in Florida, Arkansas rated 'high transmission' for community spread Rising case count reignites debate over COVID-19 restrictions Trump surgeon general: 'Pandemic is spiraling out of control' MORE is calling decisions by the governors of Texas and Mississippi to lift coronavirus restrictions “inexplicable” and warning the moves could lead to another spike in cases.

“What we don't need right now is another surge, so just pulling back on all of the public health guidelines that we know work, and if you take a look at the curve we know it works, it just is inexplicable why you would want to pull back now,” Fauci, the government’s top infectious diseases expert, said on CNN late Wednesday.

Govs. Greg Abbott of Texas and Tate Reeves of Mississippi, both Republicans, earlier in the week lifted their states' mask mandates as well as all capacity limits on businesses, pointing to the ongoing vaccination campaign and saying the restrictions were burdensome and did not need to continue.

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“I understand the need to want to get back to normality, but you're only going to set yourself back if you just completely push aside the public health guidelines, particularly when we're dealing with anywhere from 55 to 70,000 infections per day in the United States, that’s a very, very high baseline,” Fauci responded on CNN.

Earlier Wednesday, President BidenJoe BidenTrump endorses Ken Paxton over George P. Bush in Texas attorney general race GOP lawmakers request Cuba meeting with Biden For families, sending money home to Cuba shouldn't be a political football MORE also called out the two governors, calling their decisions “Neanderthal thinking.”

Reeves, however, defended his move in the face of Biden’s criticism, saying “Mississippians don’t need handlers.”

“As numbers drop, they can assess their choices and listen to experts,” he added. “I guess I just think we should trust Americans, not insult them.”

Public health experts are urging states to maintain restrictions for a little while longer, given the progress in the vaccine campaign, until a wider portion of the population is inoculated, likely sometime in the spring.