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Dr. Fauci Predicts Our Chances of Another Lockdown

A lockdown may happen "when you get perilously close to overrunning the healthcare system."
Director Of Nat'l Institute of Allergy And Infectious Diseases Discusses Global Health Threats

With the nation's top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci predicting "a surge on top of a surge"—as COVID-19 cases rise at an alarming rate—it's natural that governors and local officials are considering "drastic" mitigation measures to stop the spread. So what are the chances we'll have more stay-at-home orders? Fauci spoke with David Ushery of NBC 4 New York to discuss the coronavirus threat and the possibility of locking down. Read on to hear his concerns, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.

Dr. Fauci Said Lockdowns May Come if Hospitals Overflow

As in the rest of the country, cases are rising in New York, leading Ushery to ask if there may be another stay-at-home order. "It's very difficult to predict," said Fauci. "I do know that all of us in the health sector—and people who are of the public health group—feel that if we do the really standard kinds of things that we recommend all the time—the uniform wearing of masks, the keeping physical distances, the avoiding crowds and congregate settings, including and particularly indoors (and if so, always wear a mask), do things outdoors, preferentially over indoors, and wash your hands frequently—that you could avoid having resort to [stay at home orders or lockdowns]." 

Dr. Fauci continued to say "we know that those States and those cities, and even some of the countries, particularly our European colleagues, when they adhere to these public health measures, you can see definitely that they have a positive impact on flattening, the curves of surges and even preventing surges."

Ushery pointed out that, without a mandate or order, certain recommendations are ignored. Millions of Americans traveled on Thanksgiving, after all, even when warned not to. How to stop them from doing the same this holiday season? Their behavior may lead to a lockdown—ironic, given that many who travel don't want a lockdown. "I think realistically that we need to continue to appeal to the people, to [tell them] that we may have a surge superimposed upon a surge," said Fauci. "If that occurs, they will, in essence, be forcing on themselves. Different locations will be seriously considering locking down….

Dr. Fauci said this wasn't about taking away anyone's rights but instead about saving lives—some hospitals are overflowing with sick people. "When you get perilously close to overrunning the healthcare system, when you run out of intensive care beds, when you have staff shortages, then sometimes you have to…turn to more draconian things like lockdowns. So I can't say that's going to be throughout the country, or even wherever it might happen. But I think there will be some locations that will seriously consider that things don't get better. We'd like to avoid that at all costs because people do have COVID-19 fatigue, and you don't want to put more pressure on that."

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How to Stay Alive During the Pandemic

Dr. Fauci said the same thing earlier in the day to Governor Jared Polis of Colorado. "It may come to lock down," he admitted. "I think if you start to see overrunning of your hospitals and your healthcare systems, I can assure you that there will be serious consideration for lockdown."

The only way to avoid the economy from shutting down is by following Fauci's fundamentals, he told Polis. "What I've been saying now for weeks and weeks, if not months, is that you don't have to resort to lock down if you uniformly do the four or five things that we talk about — the masks, the distance, the avoiding crowds, the indoor issues that you want to wear a mask, you want to do things more outdoors than indoors," he explained. 

So follow Fauci's fundamentals—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.