Dr. Anthony Fauci is voicing concern for states that have pushed to ease regulations. The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases went on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday to explain how North Carolina, South Carolina and others could be coming out of the “COVID woods” prematurely.
“We had a graphic showing about a dozen states, some, like North Carolina, allowing more fans in the stands. We had more indoor bars being open and things like this,” host Chuck Todd started to ask Fauci. “You and Dr. Walensky were like ‘not yet.’ Why not yet? Why is this week not the week yet to ease restrictions?”
“It’s really too premature right now to be pulling back too much,” said Fauci, who’s come under the public eye since the start of the pandemic. “I’m concerned that we’re still at that level of 70,000, and when people start then pulling back on mitigation methods and mitigation activities, you have the risk.
Sporting events across North Carolina can welcome some fans back to the stands, along with more access to people at bars, restaurants and gyms. A new executive order signed by Gov. Roy Cooper on Friday ended a statewide curfew and allows bars to maintain a 30% indoor capacity.
“We’ve been in this situation before,” Fauci responded. “When you start to see a decline in number of cases, if you prematurely lift the restrictions, we have a few examples of the rebound back.”
“Our baseline of daily infections now, even though it’s way down from where it was, 300,000-plus per day, is down to around 70,000. That baseline’s too high.”
As of Monday afternoon (3/1), North Carolina’s rate of infection was the lowest since mid-November with 2,291 new cases and 24 deaths. The Tar Heel State has recorded over 863,000 cases and 11,241 deaths over the past year.