Dr. Anthony Fauci, the National Institute Of Allergy And Infectious Diseases director at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has reportedly been trying to push back against the possibility of the Trump administration lifting its social distancing guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Washington Post reported on Monday that Fauci and other public health experts have been privately emphasizing to those in President Donald Trump’s orbit, including GOP lawmakers, the importance of the White House’s 15-day social distancing rule in the battle against the coronavirus.
Trump, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and several Republicans have reportedly become concerned that social distancing will hurt the economy, leading them to argue that such measures ought to be rolled back. Trump’s fear stems from the fact that a tanking economy would imperil his reelection prospects, according to the Post.
Echoing Trump’s declaration that “the cure can’t be worse than the disease,” White House Director of the National Economic Council Larry Kudlow said on Monday that “we’re going to have to make difficult trade-offs” at the end of the 15-day period.
Unnamed sources told the Post that Fauci and his colleagues have warned the administration that health care workers’ vigorous response to the outbreak would be put in jeopardy if the social distancing guidelines were to be lifted once the period ends.
On Monday morning, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams told NBC News’ “Today Show” host Savannah Guthrie that “we really, really need everyone to stay at home” to avoid further spread of the coronavirus.
“I want America to understand this week, it’s going to get bad,” he said.