Fauci: Coronavirus mitigation measures can't be loosened

Mitigation strategies should not be loosened if Americans hope to lessen the impact of the coronavirus, Dr. Anthony FauciAnthony FauciThe Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Trump blends upbeat virus info and high US death forecast The Memo: Concerns grow over political pressure on coronavirus experts Overnight Health Care: More states order residents to stay at home | Trump looks to sell public on coronavirus response | Judges block Ohio, Texas abortion bans | Dems eye infrastructure in next relief bill MORE said Tuesday.

“It’s not time to take your foot off the accelerator … but to just press it down,” Fauci said during a White House press briefing.

Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, said models show that measures such as social distancing can bring down the infection curve and prevent a worst-case scenario — but only if they are rigorously followed.

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Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, acknowledged that mitigation strategies are not easy.

“This is tough. People are suffering. People are dying. … This is going to be the answer to our problems. So let’s all pull together and make sure, as we look forward to the next 30 days, we do it with all the intensity and force that we can,” Fauci said.

He said Americans need to be prepared for the possibility that 100,000 people or more will die from the virus.

“As sobering a number as that is, we should be prepared for it,” Fauci said. “It will be difficult. No one is denying the fact we are going through a really difficult time right now.”

But he also struck an optimistic tone, saying 100,000 deaths don’t have to happen.

“We don’t accept that number, that that’s what it’s going to be. We’re doing everything we can to get it even significantly below that,” Fauci said.

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Fauci said the mitigation measures that have been in place for the past 15 days have had a positive effect, even if the public can’t see it yet.

“The 15 days that we’ve had of mitigation clearly are having an effect,” Fauci said.

But he warned that the hospitalizations and the death toll will continue rising over the next several days to a week.

“Deaths always lag. You’ll be seeing deaths even at a time when we’re doing really, really well,” Fauci said.

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