WATCH: Dr. Anthony Fauci Agrees There Should Be National Coronavirus Stay-at-Home Order
Top Trump administration coronavirus expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said that new federal guidelines should be effectively considered a national stay-at-home order, and agreed that while he can’t officially proclaim one, leaving it up to the states is not working.
Dr. Fauci has been trying his best to steer clear of any hint of conflict with President Donald Trump, but his comments in a Today Show interview Thursday are at odds with the administration’s refusal to declare a national stay-at-home order — making him the second member of Trump’s task force to convey a similar message.
On Wednesday, Surgeon General Jerome Adams said that “My advice to America would be that these guidelines are a national stay-at-home order,” referring to the new 30-day guidelines that were rolled out this week.
And when host Savannah Guthrie asked Dr. Fauci about those comments, he slowly and diplomatically — but very clearly — delivered the same message.
Guthrie read Adams’ statement, and asked “Is that how you see it too? Do you agree?”
“Well yeah, if you look at what’s in those 30-day recommendations of the guidelines, that’s essentially what it is,” Fauci said. “I mean I know it’s difficult, but we’re having a lot of suffering, a lot of death, 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,” he continued. “We don’t have a vaccine, that’s deployable, this is the only thing we have, and we can get through it if everybody really leans forward and pushes on this.”
Guthrie told Fauci that “more states yesterday started having these stay-at-home orders, but not all states do, and even the states that do some have exemptions, Florida exempts religious services in some cases, I saw New Hampshire had exempted florists at one point. Arizona had exempted hair salons at some point.”
“I mean with all due deference to states, shouldn’t there be a national order, a national lockdown, a requirement, not this hodgepodge piecemeal method?” Guthrie asked Fauci.
“You know you have a point there, Savannah, but it’s one of those things that in our country there’s still is that issue of central government versus the ability and the right of a state to make their own decision,” Fauci said, but then added “I agree with you.”
“When you see things like some of those exemptions, I mean 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 at the leadership at the state level to really take a close look at those kinds of decisions.”
As Dr. Fauci noted, though, he does not have the authority to issue an official national lockdown order.
Watch the clip above via NBC.
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