The leading infectious disease expert in the Donald Trump government plans to warn the Senate on Tuesday that “unnecessary suffering and death” will be the result of a hasty reopening of the economy, in a video statement, as it is found in preventive quarantine.
The doctor Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, will appear before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Work and Pensions in a hearing that will evaluate the reopening plans, starting at 10 (local time, 14 GMT).
In an email to New York TimesFauci announced that his main message will refer to the danger of trying to open the country.
“If we skip the checkpoints of the guidelines for ‘Opening Up America Again’, then we risk the danger of multiple outbreaks across the countryFauci wrote. “This will not only result in unnecessary suffering and death, but will set us back on our quest to return to normal.“
This puts Fauci at odds with President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly urged governors to lift business closings and orders to stay home.
Fauci himself is in “modified quarantine” after the spokeswoman for Vice President Mike Pence, with whom he had no close contact, tested positive.
“Opening Up America Again” is the administration’s guide to a Three-phase approach to help state and local officials reopen their economies, while observing medical advice to limit the spread of the virus.
Among administration requirements before moving on to a phased return, states must have a “downward trajectory” of documented cases or positive evidence, as a percentage of total evidence, for two weeks. There should be a robust testing program for health workers at risk, with asymptomatic cases also examined and positive case contacts tracked.
President Donald Trump is pushing for a faster reopening of the US economy, which has been hit by the consequences of massive closings and social distancing.
Trump has been criticized for essentially giving up any leadership role during the pandemic, leaving states on their own to deal with its outbreaks and even compete with each other to obtain critical medical equipment on the open market or abroad.
While the situation has improved in New York – the epicenter of the outbreak in the US – progress has been slow elsewhere. Even the White House itself is fighting infections within its staff.
The US has reported more than 80,000 deaths and 1.3 million infections, which has already exceeded the number of the most optimistic models, which showed an estimated 60,000 deaths.
(With information from AP and AFP)
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