Admiral Brett Giroir, a leading member of White House pandemic task force, pushed back Monday against California’s lockdown orders, saying that the “evidence just isn’t there” to support the shutdown orders.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s latest stay-at-home order went into effect over the weekend in two of five regions where intensive care unit (ICU) capacity fell below the 15 percent threshold. The state’s health department reported that Southern California’s ICU availability dropped to 10.3 percent on Sunday, while the San Joaquin Valley had an ICU availability of 6.6 percent.
The order, which applies to nearly 29 million residents of Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley, includes a three-week lockdown that requires bars and restaurants to shut down both indoor and outdoor dining, among other restrictions.
Giroir, the assistant secretary for Health and Human Services, said on Fox News‘ “America’s Newsroom” that he hasn’t seen “any data that says you need to shutdown outdoor dining or outdoor bars.”
“I think we could be causing a lot more harm by overly restrictive recommendations that are not supported by the science,” Giroir said. “What I am saying is the evidence clearly does not support limitations on things like outdoor dining particularly that are spaced, outdoor bars. The evidence just isn’t there.”
“You know, the evidence just isn’t there,” Giroir continued. “And remember, shutting down completely, particularly if you don’t have evidence, can be counterproductive.”
Giroir then warned government officials not to impose restrictions unless it’s based on evidence. “When you do more, it frustrates the population because it’s not evidence-based, particularly when politicians violate their own rules,” he said. “We have to be reasonable, we have to be fair, we have to be science-based.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony Fauci, also a member of the White House pandemic task force, said Monday that he has spoken with California health officials and that he agreed with their lockdown measures.
“I said, ‘You know, you really don’t have any choice,'” Fauci said on CNN. “When you have the challenge to the health care system, you’ve got to do something about that.”
“When you reach a certain critical point of the flexibility of hospital beds, and you see more cases of COVID coming in, you could have a real challenge—and maybe even a crisis—with regard to beds and personnel to take care of the people in those beds,” Fauci said. “And that’s the reason why California has certain sections looking at the possibility of a lockdown.”