A top public health official claimed on Monday that protests against harsh quarantine measures are “going to backfire.”
Americans across the United States have been gathering in recent days to protest what they say are draconian measures implemented by governors during the COVID-19 pandemic that violate constitutional rights.
Asked to send a message to protesters, Dr. Anthony Fauci said: “The message is: clearly this is something that is hurting from the standpoint of economics and the standpoint of things that have nothing to do with the virus, but unless we get the virus under control, the real recovery—economically—is not going to happen.”
Tens of millions of Americans have lost their jobs as a result of the lockdowns, which are aimed at curbing the spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, a novel coronavirus that emerged from mainland China last year, but have proven increasingly controversial as some orders close beaches, prevent people from buying seeds, and restrict travel.
Fauci acknowledged that living under the orders is painful but urged people not to “jump the gun.”
“What you do if you jump the gun and go into a situation where you have a big spike, you’re gonna set yourself back,” he said. “So as painful as it is to go by the careful guidelines of gradually phasing into a reopening—It’s going to backfire. That’s the problem.”
Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was speaking during an appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” ABC anchor George Stephanopoulus, who served with Fauci during the Bill Clinton administration, asked the doctor to send a message to protesters.
Large protests cropped up in Michigan, Minnesota, and Virginia last week, while groups also gathered in a slew of other states into the weekend. More protests are planned before the end of the month.
Many governors have resisted loosening lockdowns even as the number of new cases and hospitalizations stabilize or drop off. Most have extended stay at home orders into May. Others have outlined plans for reopening, including Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, and South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster.
Fauci said Monday morning that America is testing 1.5 to 2 million tests per week, which is enough for states to move into the phase one outlined in President Donald Trump’s reopening plan.
The tests are enough to “do the kind of testing that would allow identification, isolation, and contact tracing,” he said.
The strategy means finding people infected with the CCP virus, isolating them, and identifying people who recently came into contact with them. It was deployed earlier this year but put aside after the number of cases exploded in the United States.
The goal is to ramp testing up two or three times the current number, forming a partnership with states, Fauci added.
Phase one includes setting up screening and testing sites for people showing symptoms and being able to trace contacts of patients who test positive for COVID-19.
Trump told reporters Sunday that his administration is working with governors to ramp up testing capacity, including involving private companies.