Dr. Fauci Says He Recommended a Nationwide Shutdown to Trump Early On

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Throughout the last year, many people have looked to Anthony Fauci, MD, for perspective and guidance on the pandemic. As a result, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has been responsible for a handful of tough decisions over the past seven months. Recently, Fauci said that the most challenging decision he had to make during the pandemic was to advise Donald Trump to implement a nationwide shutdown. Read on to find out what went into Fauci's choice, and for more words of warning from the doctor, Dr. Fauci Just Said This Is a "Bad Sign" for COVID.

On Oct. 6, Fauci took some time to respond to questions from students from his alma mater, the College of the Holy Cross. During the forum, a student asked Fauci about the most crucial decision he had to make during the pandemic, and the critical thought process that accompanied it.

"It was a decision to make a recommendation to the president," Fauci answered. "It wasn't my decision that I could implement." That recommendation was to shut down the U.S. to drastically slow the spread of coronavirus.

According to Fauci, his recommendation was made early on in the pandemic, before the U.S. saw major outbreaks. "When it became clear that we had community spread in the country, with a few cases of community spread—this was way before there was a major explosion like we saw in the Northeastern corridor driven by New York City metropolitan area—I recommended to the president that we shut the country down," said Fauci.

Closed due to COVID sign
Closed due to COVID sign

Although the decision was not an easy one due to the economic fallout that would come with it, Fauci ultimately decided it was the only way to contain the spread. "That was a very difficult decision because I knew it would have very serious economic consequences, which it did. But there was no way to stop the explosive spread that we knew would occur if we didn't do that," he said.

As we know now, even after a partial shutdown, COVID has moved throughout the U.S., hitting some areas harder than others. According to Fauci, the virus has continued to spread wildly because the U.S. never fully shut down.

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Fauci cited other cities that had more success containing the virus after committing to a complete shutdown. "Unfortunately, since we actually did not shut down completely the way China did, the way Korea did, the way Taiwan did, we actually did see spread even though we shut down."

Although advising the president to put the country into lockdown was a challenging decision to make, it ultimately might have saved millions of lives. A study published in July by Social Science Research Network found that the partial shutdown saved between 900,000 and 2.7 million U.S. lives. And for more insight from the nation's leading infectious disease expert, check out Dr. Fauci's Eerie Warning About Trump's Condition.