US President Donald Trump broke Wednesday with the nation’s top infectious disease expert over his warning of a coronavirus resurgence if proper precautions are not taken as states reopen.
Trump said Dr. Anthony Fauci “wants to play all sides of the equation” in response to the warning he issued during testimony before the Senate on Tuesday.
Asked by reporters what he meant as he hosted the governors of Colorado and North Dakota at the White House, Trump said he was “surprised by his answer.”
“To me it’s not an acceptable answer, especially when it comes to schools,” Trump said. “The only thing that would be acceptable, is professors, teachers, etc., I think they ought to take it easy for another few weeks, five weeks, four weeks, who knows? Whatever it may be.”
Fauci told the Senate there could be “serious” consequences if states do not follow guidelines for reopening during the coronavirus pandemic and do it too quickly
“My concern is that we will start to see little spikes that might turn into outbreaks,” he said as Trump continue to push state governors to quickly reopen.
He warned in particular that there is no clear answer on how to reopen the nation’s disparate school systems, saying it is unlikely a vaccine will be available by the Fall.
Fauci also warned “even under the best of circumstances” there will be an increase in coronavirus cases.
“It’s the ability and the capability of responding to those cases with good identification, isolation and contact tracing will determine whether you can continue to go forward, as you try to reopen America,” said Fauci.
Nearly 84,000 people have died from the coronavirus and over 1.3 million have been infected in the US, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Separately, a predictive model suggested that reopenings could actually result in a rise in the number of deaths.
The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation predicts 137,184 virus-related deaths by the beginning of August.
The increase from its previous estimate is largely due to raised human movement, said institute head Dr. Christopher Murray who also cautioned it will likely result in a slowed reduction in the number of daily deaths.
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