Dr. Anthony Fauci bristled at some U.S. states easing off coronavirus-related safety restrictions as the pandemic rages on and newer variants of the virus surge throughout the country, calling the moves “inexplicable.”
“It just is inexplicable why you would want to pull back now,” Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser, told CNN’s Erin Burnett on Wednesday. “I understand you want to get back to normality, but you’re only going to set yourself back if you just completely push aside the public health guidelines — particularly when we’re dealing with anywhere from 55,000 to 70,000 infections per day in the United States. That’s a very, very high baseline.”
Republican Govs. Greg Abbott of Texas and Tate Reeves of Mississippi both announced Tuesday that they were lifting mask mandates in their respective states and allowing businesses to fully reopen, though both states are still recording thousands of new coronavirus cases by the day.
Biden slammed the decisions as “neanderthal thinking.”
Fauci, who also heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned that going against health experts’ recommendations invariably slows down the nation’s recovery from the pandemic.
“We know that these interventions work,” he said, CNN reported. “It is very clear. When you implement them, you see the cases go down. When you pull back, the cases go up.”
As of Thursday, the U.S. has approximately 28.8 million coronavirus cases and 519,000 related deaths since the outset of the pandemic — both tops globally — according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker.