Health Director Warns Americans To Prepare For A Nationwide Shutdown To Slow Coronavirus

A ground crew cleans behind a counter at check-in at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
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Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, made the rounds on the news networks on Sunday to warn Americans that they should prepare for a nationwide shutdown to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

As the Daily Beast reports, Fauci, who has served as director of the NIAID since 1984, and who is on President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force, warned people that they need to be cautious about going out in public.

When asked by Meet The Press host Chuck Todd if he would prefer that the government implemented a national 14-day shutdown to get a handle on the pandemic, the immunologist said that he would.

“You know, I would prefer as much as we possibly could,” Fauci replied. “I think we should really be overly aggressive and get criticized for overreacting.”

He explained to Todd that he had given this advice to the president and his administration and said that people should be prepared for even more closures than they’re seeing already.

CNN’s Brianna Keilar on State of the Union spoke to Fauci about images of crowded bars and restaurants across the country. Fauci responded that he hoped to see people avoid public spaces.

“I would like to see a dramatic diminution of the personal interaction we see in restaurants and in bars,” he said. “Whatever it takes to do that, that’s what I would like to see.”

On Meet the Press, Fauci said that he approved of the fact that many cities had shuttered St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and many bars and restaurants were closed for the holiday weekend. He responded that public spaces should shut down in general, but especially “in those areas that have community spread.”

He asserted that he hoped everyone in the country decided to “hunker down” and stay in their homes and avoid crowds of people to help prevent the disease from spreading even further.

“If you are in an area where there’s clear community spread, you have to be much, much more intense about how you do that,” he said.

Though he didn’t suggest that a federal government-mandated lockdown was imminent, he suggested that any area across the country that has the virus should be prepared to shut down their public spaces.

Fauci’s advice comes as Republican lawmaker Devin Nunes suggested that people need to stop panicking about the virus and get out to their local restaurant or bar with their friends and family to boost the economy.