Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and coronavirus task force member, said President Trump backed away from his idea to quarantine the New York tri-state area to contain the coronavirus outbreak after “very intensive discussions” at the White House Saturday night.
On Saturday, Trump floated the idea of quarantining New York, New Jersey and certain parts of Connecticut in an effort to contain the surge of coronavirus cases in the area. Hours later, Trump tweeted that he asked the CDC to issue a “strong” travel advisory instead of a quarantine for the three states. The CDC issued a statement shortly after Trump’s tweet urging residents in the three states against non-essential domestic travel for 14 days.
During an interview on CNN Sunday morning, Fauci said that the Trump administration went with the travel advisory instead of a quarantine for the New York tri-state area after “very intensive discussions” at the White House with the President last night.
After telling CNN’s Jake Tapper that he believes the travel advisory will help stop the virus, Fauci said that Trump agreed that it would be better to issue a “strong advisory” because it was important not to enforce something that would “create a bigger difficulty.”
Fauci went on to mention that about 56 percent of all new infections in the country are coming from the New York City area, which he said is “terrible suffering” for the people of New York and feels that personally as a native New Yorker.
“What you don’t want is people traveling from that area to other areas of the country and inadvertently and innocently infecting other individuals,” Fauci said. “We felt the better way to do this would be an advisory as opposed to a very strict quarantine. And the President agreed, and that’s why he made that determination last night.”
Later in the interview, Fauci shared a grim outlook when asked about how many cases he believes the U.S. will reach.
“I mean, looking at what we’re seeing now, I would say between 100,000 and 200,000 cases. But I don’t want to be held to that, because it’s — excuse me — deaths,” Fauci said. “I mean, we’re going to have millions of cases. But I just don’t think that we really need to make a projection, when it’s such a moving target, that you can so easily be wrong and mislead people.”
Watch Fauci’s remarks below:
Fauci: "We had very intensive discussions last night at the White House with the President." pic.twitter.com/jnRmt3U8b2
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) March 29, 2020