AMERICA could start relaxing some of their social distancing rules next month, according to leading virus expert and presidential adviser, Dr Anthony Fauci.
Speaking to CNN, Fauci, a member of the White House Covid-19 task force, said: “We are hoping that at the end of the month we could look around and say, ‘Okay, is there any element here that we can safely and cautiously start pulling back on?’ If so, do it. If not, then just continue to hunker down.”
The respected 79-year-old medic, who has become a familiar and popular national figure due to the daily White House briefings, warned that any number of factors – large crowds, the return of cold weather next autumn – could lead to a ‘rebound’ of the coronavirus in places that appear to have it under control.
He also indicated decisions on loosening economic and social distancing guidelines should be made locally by states depending on their needs, as opposed to the Washington national government deciding everything.
“It is not going to be a light switch that we say, ‘Okay it is now, June, July or whenever – click – the light switch goes back on.’ It’s going to be depending where you are in the country, the nature of the outbreak that you’ve already experienced and the threat of an outbreak that you may not have experienced,” Mr Fauci said.
He avoided commenting on a newspaper report that he and his colleagues tried to advise President Trump to start encouraging people to adopt social distancing as early as mid- February, but he did not make a move on that issue for a further four weeks.
“We look at it from a pure health standpoint. We make a recommendation. Often the recommendation is taken, sometimes it’s not,” Fauci said. “It is what it is.”
He did though admit that some lives could have been saved if officials had begun instituting social distancing and other steps earlier than mid-March.
“Could you have done something a little bit earlier? Would it have had an impact? Obviously. But where we are right now is the result of a number of factors,” Fauci added.