Dr. Fauci Warns Protests May 'Backfire': Economy Can't Recover Until People Do

"As painful as it is" to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines, "it’s going to backfire” if the process is rushed, he cautioned.

Top White House coronavirus adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci warned Monday that protests against coronavirus safety measures could “backfire” and that the economy cannot recover until the virus is under control.

“Clearly this is something that is hurting from the standpoint of economics ... but unless we get the virus under control, the real recovery economically is not going to happen,” Fauci told host George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

“If you jump the gun and go into a situation where you have a big spike, you’re going to set yourself back,” Fauci warned. “So as painful as it is to go by the careful guidelines of gradually phasing into a reopening, it’s going to backfire” if the process is rushed. “That’s the problem.”

Protests have erupted in various cities against stay-at-home restrictions to stem the surge of COVID-19. The largest protest last week in Michigan was organized by a reelection campaign group for President Donald Trump, who has encouraged the actions. Trump has also urged his supporters to “liberate” Michigan, Minnesota and Virginia, which some view as a call to armed insurrection. Each of those states is headed by a Democratic governor.

Hundreds of protesters turned out in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on Monday.

The protesters often ignore social distancing guidelines recommended by Trump’s own administration.

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, also discussed the national need for far more testing before people can start going back to safe workplaces. In addition, he said there needs to be “a partnership” between the federal government and states on testing. Trump has largely blamed testing shortfalls on governors, who have been pleading for help from the Trump administration to boost the number of tests.

Check out Fauci’s interview in the video above. He addresses the protests at 5:27.

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