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Fauci, Jordan clash over what it takes to reopen

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The nation’s top infectious disease expert clashed with Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan Thursday over what it will take for the country to reopen more amid the coronavirus pandemic. (April 15)

Video Transcript

JIM JORDAN: What metrics, what measures, what has to happen before Americans get more freedom?

ANTHONY FAUCI: My message, Congressman Jordan, is to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as we possibly can to get the level of infection in this country low that it is no longer a threat. That is when. And I believe when that happens, you will see--

JIM JORDAN: What determines when?

ANTHONY FAUCI: I'm sorry.

JIM JORDAN: What? What measure? I mean, are we just going to continue this forever? When do we get to the point? What measure, what standard, what objective outcome do we have to reach before Americans get their liberty and freedoms back?

ANTHONY FAUCI: You know, you're indicating liberty and freedom. I look at it as a public health measure to prevent people from dying and going to the hospital.

JIM JORDAN: You don't think Americans liberties have been threatened the last year, Dr. Fauci? They've been assaulted. Their liberties have.

ANTHONY FAUCI: I don't look at this as a liberty thing, Congressman Jordan.

JIM JORDAN: Well, that's obvious.

ANTHONY FAUCI: I look at this as a public health thing. You're making this a personal thing, and it isn't.

JIM JORDAN: It's not a personal thing.

ANTHONY FAUCI: No, you are. That is exactly what you're doing.

JIM JORDAN: No, your recommendations carry a lot of weight, Dr. Fauci. We just had the chair of the Financial Services Committee said she loves you, and you're the greatest thing in the world.

- Will the gentleman yield?

ANTHONY FAUCI: My recommendations are consistent--

- Will the gentleman yield?

JIM JORDAN: No, it's my time.

ANTHONY FAUCI: Can I answer the question, please? My recommendations are not a personal recommendation. It's based on the CDC guidance. We are doing very well with regard to the roll out of vaccines, and yet, we are seeing in the country that there are several States in which the numbers are going up. When we had the big peak in the winter during the holidays and beyond, then it came down. We would have liked to see it go all the way down to a very, very low level.

Arbitrarily, we don't know what that number is, probably less than 10,000 per day. Right now, it's up at a high enough level that, in fact, if you look at the weekly average, it's starting to creep up. So as I said in my last slide, we're at a critical turning point. Every day, we get better and better at being able to control it because every day, three to four million people get vaccinated.