America’s top infectious disease expert will warn the Senate that the country will suffer “needless suffering and death” if it opens up too quickly, but this comes as US firms quicken the pace of business activity.
Dr Anthony Fauci (pictured), who has arguably become the nation’s most respected voice during the coronavirus crisis, will testify remotely on Tuesday before the Senate Health Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
“Open America Again,’ then we risk the danger of multiple outbreaks throughout the country. This will not only result in needless suffering and death, but would actually set us back on our quest to return to normal,” he is expected to say
Dr Thomas Frieden, a former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, added: “We’re not reopening based on science,” and added, “We’re reopening based on politics, ideology and public pressure. And I think it’s going to end badly.”
Dr Fauci has said states should only restart businesses if they have a “downward trajectory of positive tests” or a “downward trajectory of documented cases” of coronavirus over two weeks, while conducting robust contact tracing and “sentinel surveillance” testing of asymptomatic people in vulnerable populations, such as nursing homes.
However, President Trump has been pushing for a quick reopening of the US economy and specifically targeted some Democrat-run states for not reopening. Under pressure and rising unemployment, several US states have gradually opened up.
US businesses have looked eager to resume business. Yesterday, Tesla resumed operations at its Freemont plant even though it has been refused permission to do so from local county regulators.
Simon Property Group, biggest US mall owner, said on Monday it plans to open half of its malls and outlet centers this week.
Chief executive David Simon said: “We are now leading the effort for these local economies to get back to business.”
He added: “We want to help these local communities . . . because frankly they depend on our sales taxes.”
The company has so far reopened 77 of its 200 US properties.
Simon said: “I do think for the retailers that are opening, they are gaining market share. I think others that aren’t ready are missing the opportunity.”
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