Fauci vs. Trump -- Who's right?
"We have met the moment and we have prevailed," said President Donald Trump Monday, as he supported the opening of the U.S. economy before the shutdown plunges us into a deep and lasting depression.
Tuesday, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation's leading expert on infectious diseases, made clear to a Senate committee his contradictory views.
"If states reopen their economies too soon, there is a real risk that you may trigger an outbreak that you may not be able to control," said Fauci. "My concern is that we will start to see little spikes that might turn into outbreaks of the disease (and) the inevitable return of infections."
Fauci is talking of the real possibility of a second and even more severe wave of the pandemic this summer and fall, if we open too soon.
There is evidence to justify the fears of Fauci and Dr. Robert Redfield of the Centers for Disease Control, who told the same Senate committee, "We are not out of the woods yet."
Yet, there is a case to be made for the risks that Trump and red state governors are taking in opening up sooner.
The Washington Post daily graph of new deaths nationally has been showing a curve sloping downward for a month from April's more than 2,000 a day. On no day yet this week did the U.S. record 2,000 dead from the virus. On some days, there were fewer than 1,000.
The graph for new coronavirus cases, which was showing more than 30,000 a day in April, is now closer to 25,000.
Also, hospitalizations and ICU occupancies are not as high as they were. Hospitals put up in Central Park and the Javits Center seem not to have been needed. There was and is no shortage of ventilators. The Navy hospital ships Comfort and Mercy are returning to their home ports.
Also, not all states are suffering equally, nor are all communities in the hardest-hit states. There have been three times as many COVID-19 cases in New Jersey as in Texas, though New Jersey is a fraction of the size and has a fraction of the population of Texas.