Ditching stay-at-home orders too quickly? "Suffering and death." Imposing them for too long? "Irreparable damage." Anthony Fauci spoke Friday to CNBC about the apparent tight-rope walk state officials are facing as they loosen lockdown rules. "I don't want people to think that any of us feel that staying locked down for a prolonged period of time is the way to go," he told Meg Tirrell on Halftime Report. "But now is the time, depending upon where you are and what your situation is, to begin to seriously look at reopening the economy, reopening the country to try to get back to some degree of normal." He also urged states to take "very significant precautions" as they reopened for business.
"In general, I think most of the country is doing it in a prudent way," he added. "There are obviously some situations where people might be jumping over that. I just say please proceed with caution if you're going to do that." Republicans, including Sen. Rand Paul and Rep. Andy Biggs, have criticized Fauci over remarks that seemed to caution against reopening. Business Insider notes that just last week, Fauci warned a Senate committee about "needless suffering and death" if states reopen too hastily: "It would almost turn the clock back rather than going forward," he said. Fauci also told NPR on Friday that a recent coronavirus vaccine trial looks "promising" and could produce a vaccine before the end of 2020. (Read more Anthony Fauci stories.)