Fauci Says No Lockdown Needed Unless COVID Gets 'Really, Really Bad'

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As politicians and medical experts argue about whether or not lockdowns are essential to containing the coronavirus, Dr. Anthony Fauci has stated yet again that he doesn't think a national lockdown is necessary. The pandemic would have to get "really, really bad" before he would favor one, said the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He spoke to Dr. Jon LaPook for a report on 60 Minutes airing October 18th. Read on, and don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.

Has Dr. Fauci Proposed a Lockdown?

"How bad would things have to get for you to advocate a national lockdown?" LaPook asked Fauci.

"They'd have to get really, really bad," Fauci said. "First of all, the country is fatigued with restrictions. So we want to use public health measures, not to get in the way of opening the economy, but to being a safe gateway to opening the economy. So instead of having an opposition: open up the economy [to] get jobs back, or shut down. No. Put 'shut down,' away and say, 'We're going to use public health measures to help us safely get to where we want to go."

It wasn't the first time Fauci said lockdowns shouldn't be necessary.

Dr. Fauci's Recent Record on Lockdowns

On June 30th: During testimony in front of the Senate, Dr. Fauci made it very clear that our prevention approach shouldn't be "all or nothing," and that socializing shouldn't be off the table. "Outdoors is better than indoors," he pointed out when Senator Mitt Romney asked him about the safest scenarios.

On July 24: "I don't think it's necessary to do that. It might come to that, but right now, I think if you look at what's going on in some of the Southern states, having the resurging of cases, you can put a pause on what you're doing, or even maybe take a step back. Let me give you an example. If certain of the states or cities are in phase two of the guidelines of opening America, again, you might want to either pause or go back to phase one—or if you're in phase one, go back to the gateway component of the guideline. So I'm not so sure you need to, all of a sudden, everybody go back to a complete lockdown. You know, it could come to that. You always gotta leave it on the table, but I think we can probably get around what we're doing now and put a lid on it and stop this by just being a bit more cautious."

On August 5th: "The country does not need to completely shut down to recover, according to Dr. Fauci. "I think that that strange binary of approach that either you're locked down or you let it all fly, there's some place in the middle when we can open the economy and still avoid these kinds of surges that we're seeing," he said.

On October 1st: "I want the opportunity to say this again because unfortunately with the divisiveness that we have people take it out of context: I believe, and the overwhelming majority of my public health colleagues, my colleagues who are involved in infectious diseases, feel that we should use public health deaths and public health activities to help us to open the economy," he said. "Don't interpret it as an obstacle to opening the economy," he continued. "Because if you do things the way we have prescribed, namely, a gateway of phase one, phase two, phase three, without jumping over these benchmarks that you have to look for, you can safely get people back to work, get the economy going. It's what you do in the extremes. You either think it's all shut down or, you know, caution to the wind and that we can't do that. That gets you in trouble."

On October 13th: Fauci commented on Trump tweeting that lockdowns must end and that New York should open up. "Well, you know, New York, after they get a hit really, really badly months and months ago, they did very well in keeping the level of infection, the test positivity down, they're trying to open up, which we're all trying to do," said Fauci. "And they're seeing an uptick in cases. But they've got to do is…hunker down, as I say, which means make sure people do the things that we're talking about. If they do that, they don't need to shut down completely. They need to gradually and carefully open up. And I believe that's what Governor Cuomo is trying to do….I just think that we need to focus on the four or five fundamental things that we need to do," Fauci continued.

Dr. Fauci's Fundamentals

So practice the fundamentals: wear your face mask, avoid crowds, avoid indoor spaces with people you don't shelter with, practice good hand hygiene and don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.