Fauci says Reeves’ decision to roll back COVID-19 restrictions ‘really risky’

Dr. Anthony Fauci
Dr. Anthony Fauci(The White House / Andrea Hanks)
Updated: Mar. 3, 2021 at 5:13 PM CST
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WLBT) - The chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden questions the decisions of Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to roll back COVID-19 restrictions.

Tuesday, Reeves lifted all mask mandates for the state, except those governing K-12 schools, and allowed businesses to reopen at full capacity.

At a town hall Wednesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci criticized that decision, saying it was too soon to declare victory in the COVID-19 fight, as the nation is reporting as many as 70,000 new cases of the virus each day.

“To completely pull back on all public health measures, you want that level to be remarkably low – very, very low – and 60 to 70,000 per day is not low,” he said. “I think that is really risky.”

Fauci, who also is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was speaking at a virtual town hall sponsored by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. He was taking questions from UFCW members.

Fauci urged those workers to continue to wear face masks and practice social distancing.

He said he’s worried that rolling back restrictions will cause new cases to rise, even as numbers are beginning to drop.

“We don’t want to claim premature victory,” he said. “Even though the slope is coming down sharply, if you look at the last seven-day average, it’s done this ...”

Fauci made a motion with his hand, showing that the daily average has started to flatten, rather than continue to fall.

“That’s a dangerous sign,” he said. “That has happened in the past. When you pull back on measures of public health, invariably you’ve seen a surge back up.”

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