Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading expert on infectious disease, discussed the surges in southern states, and how to hopefully avoid future surges through careful reopening, on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Tuesday.
“Obviously, the southern states that really had a major surge,” Fauci said, naming Florida, Texas, Arizona and California. "They appear, I hope, and it looks like they may be cresting and coming back down.”
Fauci said that what he was concerned about, and something that Dr. Deborah Birx has also mentioned, was other states, such as Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee and Kentucky, “that are starting to have that very early indication that the percent of cases regarding the number of tests you have – that the percent is starting to go up.”
“That’s a surefire sign that you’ve got to be really careful." Fauci said.
“If you are trying to open up, please do it in a way that’s in accordance with the guidelines,” Fauci added.
If guidelines are followed carefully, as well as the fundamentals that Fauci outlined earlier – which include mask wearing, social distancing, closing bars in areas where there is viral activity, avoiding crowds and practicing hand hygiene – “I think we can prevent the surges that we’ve seen in the southern states,” he said. “Because we just can’t afford, yet again, another surge.”
When asked whether there should be a coordinated national strategy for reopening, as some state governors have said they will not go along with plans that have been laid out by the administration, and the President has said that some states should be thinking about reopening, Fauci said that the guidelines “the way we put them out some time ago, that really is the national strategy.”
These recommendations say that if you’re at a certain level, wait until you have a period of time over 14 days where it comes down, Fauci said, then continue to move through the phases, once the preceding one has been successfully achieved.
“Obviously, as you mentioned, some states are not doing that,” Fauci said. “We would hope that they all now rethink at what happens when you don’t adhere to that. We’ve seen it in plain sight in the southern states that surged, so we’ve got to get back to a very prudent advance from one stage to another.”