WASHINGTON - Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on Monday called Florida's recent decision to ease restaurant restrictions “very concerning.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Friday that restaurants were allowed to immediately reopen at full capacity, and his executive order would block cities and counties from ordering restaurants to close unless they could justify a closure for economic or health reasons.
“That is very concerning to me,” Fauci said on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” speaking to Florida’s reopenings. “...When you’re dealing with community spread and you have the kind of congregate setting, where people get together, particularly without masks, you’re really asking for trouble.”
“Now is the time, actually, to double down a bit,” Fauci said, emphasizing a reference to public health measures, not lockdowns.
Florida has reported over 700,000 coronavirus cases, and more than 14,000 related deaths. In late August, the state began to level out its daily reported cases as they dropped from a peak in mid-July, though still upwards of around 2,800 in recent days; not meeting lower levels seen prior to the summer surge under about 1,200. State health data reports a current positivity rate of 4.2%. https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/data/state-timeline/new-confirmed-cases/florida
Fauci echoed previous statements that states need to reach the lowest level possible for community spread for the fall and winter to better manage a potential uptick in cases with more indoor activity ahead given the colder months.
“...There are states that are starting to show uptick in cases and even some increase in hospitalizations in some states, and I hope not but we very well might start seeing increases in deaths,” he said, adding that the U.S. "is not a good place" with nearly 40,000 new daily cases.
Fauci urged Americans to intensify public health measures, which include wearing a mask, maintaining physical distance, frequent hand washing and staying home when sick.
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Fox News' Julia Musto contributed to this article.