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Dr. Fauci Defends Targeted "Shutdowns" As Necessary

Closing bars and restaurants are key when infection rates are high, he explains.

The winter COVID surge is well underway, with many states — and the country as a whole — breaking records daily. As a result, many states and cities are starting to lock down, closing non-essential businesses, switching school to virtual learning, and putting heavy restrictions on bars and restaurants. During an interview with Fox News on Thursday, host Martha MacCallum put the heat on National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, demanding to know why "we have been locked down for so long." In addition to pointing out that the country isn't actually in lockdown mode, the nation's top infectious disease expert explained why current restrictions are absolutely necessary. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.

Dr. Fauci Clarified the Mitigation Measures Needed

MacCallum brought up Fauci's debate with Senator Rand Paul, who accused the health official of refusing to look at research supporting children returning to school. 

"First of all, that is totally incorrect that I refused to look at the data. I looked at all the data," Fauci said. "And I have been saying for a considerable period of time that we should have as our default position getting the children back to school or keeping them in school."

He also pointed out that there is a major difference between a "lockdown" and public health measures. 

"There are mitigation things that you do that are wearing a mask, keeping distances, avoiding congregate settings — that isn't really locking down. It's doing some fundamental, basic public health measures that is certainly short of locking down. I think there is kind of a misunderstanding of people thinking that when you ask people to do some simple public health measures…" he explained before getting interrupted. 

He continued to detail how the situation obviously differs from state to state, and that closing up businesses where infection rates are higher is crucial. 

"You've got to be careful. This is the United States of America, and one of the things we pride ourselves in as it were is that the individual States can do things depending upon what their own evaluation, which is a good thing in many respects," he said. In the states where there is an "extraordinary degree of community spread" if you "temporarily not permanently" close businesses, "you can turn the curve around."

"Look at the numbers," he urged MacCallum. "There have been over 2,000 people that died yesterday. There were 99,000 people with COVID-19 in the hospital. There are between 100,000 [and] 200,000 new infections each day. And there are 270,000 deaths. That's serious stuff. So when we want to temporarily close down a bar, that is not a bad thing to do."

Fauci did offer a suggestion on how to help the bar and restaurant industry during these shutdowns. 

"What I think we should do is make sure we subsidize and support the restaurant owners and the bar owners so that they don't suffer because of the public health measures, but don't get those things confused. It does help when you shut down things that are clearly the seat of the virus." 

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How to Survive the Pandemic No Matter Where You Live

Help end this surge, no matter where you live—wear a face mask, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with, practice good hand hygiene and to protect your life and the lives of others, and don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more