President Donald Trump has said that the United States’ top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci’s warning against reopening states and schools too soon was not acceptable.
In his testimony before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Tuesday, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease warned of avoidable suffering and death, and further economic damage, if states reopen too quickly.
“There is a real risk that you will trigger an outbreak that you may not be able to control” by reopening too quickly, said Fauci, who has served under six presidents.
He also told lawmakers that the actual death toll is probably higher than what is officially reported due to the overwhelming stress the COVID-19 pandemic has put on hospitals.
Dismissing the potentially dire consequences of premature reopening at a White House news conference Wednesday, the President said he was surprised by Fauci’s answer. “To me it’s not an acceptable answer, especially when it comes to schools.”
Referring to Dr. Fauci’s concerns expressed at the hearing, Trump said the 79-year old immunologist is playing both sides.
“I was surprised by his answer, actually, because, you know, it’s just to me it’s not an acceptable answer especially when it comes to schools,” Trump told reporters.
In his meeting with the Governors of Colorado and North Dakota, Trump said only teachers and professor over the 60-65 age group are required to “stay out for a little while longer.”
“But I think you should absolutely open the schools. Our country has got to get back and it’s got to get back as soon as possible, and I don’t consider our country coming back if the schools are closed.”
All schools in the U.S. have been closed since March as a precautionary measure due to the outbreak of coronavirus.
As the rate of coronavirus-related death and infection continue to rise in the country, the total death toll crossed 84000.
A coronavirus model cited by the White House earlier this month is forecasting the daily death toll to reach new height of 3,000 by June.
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