Dr. Fauci Says Reopening Will Vary State by State: 'Not Going to Be a One-Size-Fits-All'

Dr. Anthony Fauci is speaking realistically about the nation’s return to normalcy during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

On Tuesday, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told NBC News that although the United States is “seeing some light at the end of the tunnel” in terms of reducing the rate of new infections, reopening communities will be more complicated than simply resuming everyday activities.

“There is going to be a great deal of variability,” Fauci told host Savannah Guthrie about when and how individual states will be able to reopen.

He continued: “It probably would be a rolling entry into it, with some states actually doing nothing different because they’re still in a really difficult situation, and you would not want to relax any of the physical separation guidelines, and others that would be doing really much better, so it’s not going to be a one-size-fits-all.”

As of April 15, there have been 606,800 confirmed cases of the respiratory virus and 25,922 deaths in the U.S., according to data compiled by The New York Times.

“There’s no doubt what we’ve seen over the last several days is a flattening out … hopefully that trend will continue,” said Fauci. “… I’m a very cautious person, but we are seeing some light at the end of the tunnel.”

Fauci also warned that “if we start pulling back on mitigation, there will be infections” that would make lockdowns necessary again.

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As governors across the country start to plan roadmaps to reopening their respective states, officials are mindful that a hasty reduction in precautions could spark another outbreak.

“We will be driven by facts. We will be driven by evidence. We will be driven by science. We will be driven by our public health advisers, and we will be driven by the collaborative spirit that defines the best of us at this incredibly important moment,” said California Gov. Gavin Newsom in a press conference on Monday.

Also on Monday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he thinks the pandemic could be plateauing, as long as leaders are cautious about moving forward.

“I believe the worst is over if we continue to be smart, and I believe we can start on the path to normalcy,” Cuomo said at the time, adding: “Do not reverse the progress we have made in our zeal to reopen — that’s our challenge going forward.”

Added Cuomo: “We should start looking forward to reopening, but reopening with a plan and a smart plan, because if you do it wrong, it can backfire, and we’ve seen that in other places on the globe.”

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.

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