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Dr. Fauci Just Said if We Should Lockdown

Would shutting down American businesses shut down COVID-19 too?
woman wearing a face mask and peeking out from blinds

Coronavirus cases continue to set daily records nationwide, and public health officials are calling for Americans to mask up and change their holiday plans. But there's one thing Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top public-health expert, won't be calling for, at least not right now: A nationwide lockdown. 

"I would like that to be almost the last resort," said Fauci in an interview with Australian TV on Wednesday. "Because we know there's a considerable amount of COVID-19 fatigue globally, and certainly in the United States. I don't think that that would be well-received." Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.

Public health measures not the same as a lockdown

Since the beginning of the pandemic, local officials have enacted curfews and stay-at-home orders at various points; some have begun doing so this fall as cases have started to surge. Massachusetts has issued a stay-at-home advisory; Nevada, Wisconsin and others have done something similar. But Fauci has previously said that a broader nationwide lockdown would not be a good idea, a message he reiterated Wednesday. 

"I don't think you need to lock down," he said. "I think people have a misperception that when you say 'Wear masks, avoid crowds, keep your distance' that that means locking down. It doesn't."

He added: "You can keep small and large businesses open, so long as you implement certain fundamental public health practices. I think it's a missed perception and misleading to think that when you practice public health measures, that means a lockdown."

Some countries, like Australia and New Zealand, have implemented lockdowns and have had success in stemming the tide of COVID cases. "Australia is an example of a very successful result of a lockdown," said Fauci. "They locked down for a period of time, they got down to zero, and now they're at a very, very good baseline, which means … that it's much easier to identify, isolate and contact-trace when you start off with virtually no infections in your population."

RELATED: This is the #1 Way You'll Get COVID, According to Doctors

Biden advisor advocates a lockdown

Also on Wednesday, Dr. Michael Osterholm, a coronavirus advisor to President-Elect Joe Biden, advocated for a nationwide lockdown, saying that shutting businesses and paying people for lost wages for four to six weeks could stem the pandemic and keep the economy stable until widespread vaccination is possible. "We could pay for a package right now to cover all of the wages, lost wages for individual workers for losses to small companies to medium-sized companies or city, state, county governments. We could do all of that," he told Yahoo! Finance Wednesday. "If we did that, then we could lockdown for four-to-six weeks."

As for yourself, lockdown or not, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Wear your face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

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