Fox News host Martha MacCallum pushed back against National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Dr. Anthony Fauci Wednesday after he claimed that the public has been “misunderstanding” the threat of additional lockdowns.
In an interview on “The Story”, Fauci was asked to respond to Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who accused Fauci Tuesday of ignoring the data surrounding school closures and low coronavirus transmission rates among children.
FAUCI: ‘CLOSE THE BARS, KEEP THE SCHOOLS OPEN’ TO MITIGATE COMMUNITY SPREAD
“First of all, that is totally incorrect that I refused to look at the data. I looked at all the data,” Fauci said. “And I have been saying for a considerable period of time that we should have as our default position getting the children back to school or keeping them in school.”
Fauci said he believes there is a “misunderstanding” surrounding the term “lockdown,” arguing that “when you ask people to do some simple public health measures,” it can be misinterpreted to mean more than “wearing of masks, keeping distances, avoiding congregate settings, that isn’t really locking down.”
“I don’t think all these businesses are misunderstanding what’s going on,” MacCallum interjected. “They are not allowed to open, many of the schools are closed, you’ve got college kids who have been literally prisoners in their dorm rooms, they can’t leave. And little kids whose mothers have had to quit their jobs. Tell them there’s no lockdown, doctor,” she said.
Fauci warned of an “extraordinary degree of community spread” in some states, and called the prospect of temporarily closing bars and restaurants in highly infected areas “not a bad thing to do.”
“There have been over 2,000 people that died yesterday. There were 99,000 people with COVID-19 in the hospital,” he said. “There are between 100,000 [and] 200,000 new infections each day. And there are 270,000 deaths. That’s serious stuff. So when we want to temporarily close down a bar, that is not a bad thing to do.”
At the same time, Fauci encouraged state governments to “subsidize and support the restaurant owners and the bar owners so they don’t suffer.
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“But,” he emphasized, “don’t get those things confused. It does help when you shut down things that are clearly the seeding of the virus.”
Earlier in the segment, Fauci criticized the United Kingdom for jumping the gun on granting approval to the Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine. The White House coronavirus adviser also predicted that the U.S. will reach herd immunity when 70% of the population is vaccinated — which he said could happen as soon as this summer if compliance is widespread enough.