White House

Fauci Urges National Stay-at-Home Order: ‘I Don’t Understand Why That’s Not Happening’

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci speaks as President Donald Trump listens during a news briefing on the coronavirus, Washington, D.C., March 21, 2020. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to the Trump administration’s coronavirus task force, endorsed a national stay at home order on Thursday, contradicting President Trump, who has resisted calls to issue such a sweeping order to stem the spread of the pandemic.

“I don’t understand why that’s not happening,” Fauci responded on CNN when asked whether states have to be “on the same page” regarding ordering residents to leave the house only for essential trips.

“You know, the tension between federally mandated versus states’ rights to do what they want is something I don’t want to get into,” the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases continued during the network’s coronavirus town hall. “But if you look at what’s going on in this country, I just don’t understand why we’re not doing that. We really should be.”

More than 90 percent of Americans will be under a local or state order this week to remain at home except for necessary purposes. However, Trump and members of the administration have shown reluctance to encroach on governors and simply order them to issue social distancing mandates to residents.

“You have to give a little flexibility,” Trump said Wednesday at the White House during his daily press briefing. “If you have a state in the Midwest, or if Alaska, for example, doesn’t have a problem, it’s awfully tough to say, ‘close it down.’ We have to have a little bit of flexibility.”

“We live in a nation that has a system of federalism, and the governors get to make the decisions,” Surgeon General Jerome Adams said Wednesday. “But we’re going to give them the best possible guidelines we can, and that’s to stay at home and to social distance.”

More than 6,200 people have died from the coronavirus in the U.S. as of Friday morning, and more than 244,000 people have been infected.

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