At first task force briefing in nearly two months, Vice President defends reopening despite record outbreaks

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, speaks at a coronavirus task force briefing in Washington, DC, on June 26.Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, speaks at a coronavirus task force briefing in Washington, DC, on June 26. Pool

Contrasting some of the optimistic messaging coming out of the Trump administration in recent days, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said it may be time to “drop back a few yards” to think about the original reopening guidelines.

He had a stark message for anyone comfortable with the risks of Covid-19: “A risk for you is not just isolated to you because if you get infected, you are part, innocently or inadvertently, of propagating the dynamic process of a pandemic.”

Fauci began his comments at the White House coronavirus task force briefing by admitting that some states may have opened too soon.

“I don’t think there’s time enough now all day to try and analyze and figure out the multifaceted elements that went into that,” Fauci said. “Everything from maybe opening a little bit too early on some to opening at the right time, but not actually following the steps in an orderly fashion, to actually trying to follow the steps in an orderly fashion, but the citizenry did not feel that they wanted to do that for a number of reasons. Likely, because everyone feels the common feeling of being picked up for such a long period of time.” 

“So, we’re not going to say blame we’re not going to try and analyze it,” he continued, “but there is something that’s very important about it, that I’d like to get a message to the country in general.”

Fauci said it may be necessary to think about the original guidelines from the task force about reopening the country, some of which were ignored by the states.

“When the vice president went back, pulling back a couple of months ago, when we showed about the guidelines to safely reopen the country, we’ve got to make sure we drop back a few yards and think about that, that this is part of a process that we can be either part of the solution or part of the problem.” 

“We need to take that into account because we are all in it together,” he said. “And the only way we’re going to end it is by ending it together.”

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