Dr. Fauci Just Blamed These States for Coronavirus Outbreak
This week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country's top infectious disease expert and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, has been doing a media tour, sounding the alarm as coronavirus cases rise at a worrying rate; we are nearing 60,000 cases a day, and the country hit another daily record, it's sixth in ten days. In an interview with Anna Rothschild, on FiveThirtyEight's Podcast-19, he spoke about what's most urgent today—including which states are to blame.
On the Big Coronavirus Surge
"I know what's going on there because it's pretty obvious is that in some of the States, the governors or the mayors essentially jumped over the guidelines and the checkpoints and opened up a little bit too soon. And they were not prepared to deal with the resurgences that they saw in other States, [where] the governors and the mayors actually abided by the guidelines and the restrictions—but the people in the state, particularly the young people threw caution to the wind and you see the films of people, very densely congregated at bars and in areas where they're getting together, not looking at social distancing, not wearing a mask. So I think what we're seeing right now are the results of that in those States, those four States that are accounting for about 50% of all the new infections"— Arizona, California, Florida and Texas —"that we're seeing in the United States."
Did Some States Open Too Quickly?
"You know, I think in some respects, in some cases, they did not always. But I think that that certainly is contributing to that. Certainly Florida I know, you know, I think jumped over a couple of checkpoints."
Can the Surge Be Blamed on Politicians Not Following Guidelines and People Not Following Orders?
"Yes. It is both. I mean, it's not a unidimensional thing. It's complicated. There are some governors and mayors that did it perfectly correctly. They stayed exactly. They wanted to open up, so they went through the guidelines of opening up their state. But what happened is that many of the citizenry, said, 'You know, well, I'm either going to be locked down or I'm going to let it all rip. And you could see from just looking, documented on TV and in the papers of still photos of people at bars and congregations, which are a perfect setup, particularly if you don't have a mask. Yeah, then there are some times when despite the guidelines and the recommendations to open up carefully and prudently, some states skipped over those and just opened up too quickly."
How the U.S. is Doing Overall?
"Well, let me say there are parts of the United States, like where you live right now [in New York], that are doing really well, that you've been through something really bad and you have things under control. And you have a governor and mayor in the city who understand what it means to go by the guidelines for the gateway, phase one, phase two, phase three. So you're doing well. Other cities are doing well. But as a country, when you compare us to other countries, I don't think you can say we're doing great. I mean, we're just not. We plateaued at 20,000 for weeks and weeks and weeks. And now the last couple of weeks, we've gone back as high as 50,000 new cases per day. And now like yesterday, it was 43,000, but 43 and 50 is twice what your baseline is. I don't think we should be congratulating ourselves about how well we're doing."
Does Partisanship Make Things More Difficult?
"You know, I think you'd have to admit that that's the case. We live, I mean, you have to be having blindfolders on and covering your ears to think that we don't live in a very divisive society now, from a political standpoint. I mean, it's just unfortunate, but it is what it is. And you know, from experience historically, that when you don't have unanimity in an approach to something, you're not as effective in how you handle it. So I think you'd have to make the assumption that if there wasn't such divisiveness, that we would have a more coordinated approach."
As for yourself: To get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these Things You Should Never Do During the Coronavirus Pandemic.