Dr. Fauci Says This One State Is "Asking for Trouble"
The recent return to full capacity in this state has him worried.
As national numbers of new coronavirus cases begin to rise again after a decline in recent weeks, experts have been warning that serious action must be taken quickly to avoid a catastrophic winter. But as many medical professionals sound the alarm, some state officials are making decisions that have the likes of Anthony Fauci, MD, worried. Recently, the nation's top infectious disease expert said one state in particular is "asking for trouble" at one of the worst possible moments: Florida. Read on for more on the Sunshine State's potentially cloudy future, and for the trouble you could be getting in, here's What You're Doing Every Day That Increases Your COVID Risk.
During an interview on ABC's Good Morning America on Sept. 28, Fauci candidly discussed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis's decision to allow bars and restaurants to welcome back patrons at full capacity across the state on Sept. 25.
"That is very concerning to me," Fauci warned on GMA. "That is something we really need to be careful about because when you are dealing with community spread and you have the kind of congregate setting where people get together, particularly without wearing masks, you're really asking for trouble."
The changes come as Florida enters phase three of its reopening process, which allows for bars, pubs, and nightclubs that generate more than half of their revenue from the sale of alcohol to welcome back customers to their full legal capacity. Some limited social distancing and cleaning protocols are mandated by the state, Patch reports.
Despite his concern, Fauci reiterated that it wasn't necessary to revert to the same tactics used in the early days of the pandemic. "Now's the time actually to double down a bit—and I don't mean close," he said. "When I say that, people get concerned that we're talking about shutting down. We're not talking about shutting anything down. We're talking about common sense type of public health measures that we've been talking about all along."
Unfortunately, DeSantis's decision to reopen may have already had an effect. Florida saw a drastic spike in cases on Sept. 29, jumping from 738 to 3,266 in just one day, CNN reports. The news comes after scenes of crowded bars and restaurants across the state over the weekend made headlines.
Recent research also supports limiting time spent at eating and drinking establishments. A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) earlier in September found that people who tested positive for COVID-19 were twice as likely to have eaten out at restaurant over the previous two-week period. As the study authors noted, "masks cannot be effectively worn while eating and drinking, whereas shopping and numerous other indoor activities do not preclude mask use." And for more on how coronavirus can affect you for life, here are The Longest Lasting COVID Symptoms You Need to Know About.