Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, made the media rounds on Sunday morning. He continually hammered the same point: people need to practice social distancing and stay home if at all possible. Doing so would help curve the number of infected people the United States is bound to see.
NBC’s Chuck Todd asked Fauci about the need for Americans across the nation to undergo a lockdown, particularly because some states and areas are making people self-quarantine while others are not. Fauci said he wanted the American people and the federal government to do “as much as we possibly could” and he would rather “be overly aggressive and get criticized for overreacting” than to be underprepared. Despite making that designation, the mainstream media ran with the narrative that Fauci was calling for a 14-day lockdown. What he was really getting at: make wise decisions. Don’t go out into crowded restaurants and bars and don’t go grocery shopping or to other crowded places unless absolutely necessary.
During the Coronavirus Task Force press conference Sunday evening, a member of the White House Press corps asked about Fauci’s appearances earlier in the day. “Dr. Fauci this morning said the federal government should do whatever it takes to increase Americans’ social distancing and encourage that practice. He didn’t rule out the possibility of a national lockdown,” the reporter asked. “If Americans don’t take those steps on their own, is that something that the federal government is prepared to do?”
Fauci went up to the microphone. “I meant everything I said this morning on the shows, that really, to protect the American people, we consider anything and everything on the table,” Dr. Fauci explained. “You’re going to see some advanced and updated guidelines tomorrow that are going to address some but not all of the questions and concerns. But on a day-by-day basis, we look at this and, literally, we will do everything that we can to make sure we safeguard the health and the well-being of the American people. And that means everything and anything, we’ll consider.”
Some members of the press weren’t satisfied with the response.
“Dr. Fauci, can you give us an example?” Another reporter asked. “You say ‘anything and everything,’ like what? Like what Europe is doing? No bars, no restaurants?”
“That could be. Absolutely,” Fauci replied. “That could be.”
“But if new guidance is coming tomorrow can you give us more concrete information right now?” A third reporter pressed. “You must know what it is.”
Fauci snapped back in a calm demeanor, telling members of the press to be patient.
“I don’t want to jump ahead of the guidance,” Fauci replied. “I promise you, let the guidance come out. We’ll be here every day. I’ll answer the question after the guidance. I promise you that.”