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Dr. Fauci Just Said if We Should Lockdown Nationwide

“You don't need to shut everything down,” he said. “You just have to look at where you're having the spread.”
closed sign at a restaurant

With states from New Mexico to Massachusetts announcing restrictions—Kentucky and Minnesota were the latest to do so—cries for, and against, a nationwide lockdown have increased. The battle of public health vs. the economy rages on. One expert feels both can thrive, however. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert and member of the coronavirus task force, has long said you can practice fundamental health measures without shutting down the nation. In an interview with the USA TODAY Editorial Board, he addressed just that.

"You don't need to shut everything down," he said. "You just have to look at where you're having the spread and make sure you put a bit of a clamp on that without shutting down every shop and every small business. You don't need to do that." Read on to hear more, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus

Dr. Fauci Said You Can Practice Safety Measures and Still "Keep Things Open"

"I find it so frustrating that when I (talk about) the five measures — uniform wearing of masks; physical distance; avoiding congregate settings, particularly indoors; trying to do things, to the extent possible that weather allows, outdoors more than indoors; and washing hands — people sometimes interpret that as shutting down. That's not shutting down," said Fauci. "That's implementing public health measures at the same time as you keep things open."

Governors across the nation are trying to strike the balance. 

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced new restrictions to fight COVID-19 on Wednesday, calling them "not fair" but "a sacrifice we need to make." 

Walz ordered people in the state not to hold gatherings with people from other households. Receptions, private parties and other celebrations are prohibited. Indoor service in restaurants and bars will not be allowed. Gyms, indoor fitness centers, bowling alleys and museums will be closed.

On Wednesday, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced a series of restrictions to fight COVID-19 he acknowledged would be "unpopular" but were necessary in the face of the virus's surge in the state.

"Action is unpopular," he said, "but inaction is deadly."

The restrictions include closing restaurants and bars to indoor service; limiting private gatherings to eight people; capping attendance at venue spaces to 25 people (including weddings and funerals; limiting gyms and pools to 33% capacity, with face masks required; and moving public and private schools to remote learning.

More and more states announce similar initiatives each day—even GOP-led ones.

RELATED: Dr. Fauci Says Most People Did This Before Catching COVID

The "Lockdowns" Will be Localized, Fauci Predicts

The lockdown debate has inevitably become political. 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 last Wednesday. "If we did that, then we could lockdown for four-to-six weeks."

The response was outrage, and he walked his statement back.

For Fauci, a national lockdown is not off the table entirely. "I would like that to be almost the last resort," said Fauci in an interview with Australian TV. "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." 

Given that, he sees city and state initiatives being the best chance we have. "We're not going to get a national lockdown," he told Jake Tapper on CNN's State of the Union. "I think that's very clear, but I think what we're going to start seeing in the local levels—be they governors or mayors or people at the local level—will do, as you said, very surgical type of restrictions, which are the functional equivalent of a local lockdown, but we're not going to have a national lockdown, but if things really get bad and you can put your foot on the pedal and yet still you have the surge, you may need to take the extra step." Until then, practice Fauci's fundamentals, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.