Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Thursday that he would like to see a nationwide lockdown to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus in the United States.
Per a Twitter post, Fauci was cautious with his words while speaking with Savannah Guthrie on the Today show. He noted that the federal government doesn't have the authority to issue a nationwide stay-at-home order, but he agreed that it was a good idea.
Guthrie asked the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases about the states that have avoided issuing a lockdown order so far. Additionally, she pointed out that some businesses deemed nonessential were open in some areas, potentially enabling the disease to spread.
"I can't make any official proclamations here, but I can say: Really seriously consider, are those exemptions appropriate when you think about what's going on?" he said. "And I urge the people of the leadership at the state level to really take a close look at those kinds of decisions."
"In our country, there still is that issue of central government versus the ability and the right of a state to make their own decision... Again, I agree with you," he said of her suggestion for a national stay-at-home order.
Fauci also agrees with Surgeon General Jerome Adams that citizens should stay at home for at least another 30 days, if not more, in order to keep the virus spreading and until a vaccine can be created and released.
"This is inconvenient from an economic and a personal standpoint, but we just have to do it. That is our major weapon against this virus right now. We don't have a vaccine that's deployable," he said, adding that social distancing should also be utilized.
The coronavirus task force leader was reportedly forced in recent days to beef up security after being the target of death threats, though he brushed the concern off by saying it was part of the job.Countries like China, Italy, France, India, and Spain have all issued some form of nationwide quarantine. However, the U.S. has a different system, where states need to exercise the right to issue lockdown orders.
President Donald Trump has faced criticism in recent days for refusing to issue a nationwide stay-at-home recommendation, something that people say could encourage the holdout states to require that their citizens hunker down at home.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recently said that he hadn't issued a lockdown in his state despite the spread of the virus because Trump had not told him to do so.