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Fauci says US could follow Italy’s lockdown path if COVID-19 restrictions lifted early

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Dr. Anthony Fauci warned Sunday that the US has to gradually lift COVID-19 restrictions in order to “avoid” the same consequences as Italy and enter a new lockdown.

The White House chief medical adviser said that there are about 50,000 to 65,000 new cases daily in the nation — a high number that comes with the risk of another surge.

“We know from previous surges that we’ve had over the year that when you see that leveling off at a high level [there’s] always the risk of a surge back up and unfortunately that’s exactly what is happening in Europe right now,” Fauci told anchor Chirs Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.”

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“They have the same kind of decline. They only seem to be a few weeks ahead of us in the dynamics of the outbreak then they plateaued because they pulled back a bit.”

In a separate interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Fauci explained that Italy has been forced to order a new lockdown that starts Monday after prematurely lifting its own restrictions.

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“They pulled back on public health measures… They opened the restaurants, they opened some of the bars,” Fauci told CNN anchor Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”

Police check people sitting in a crowded park in Italy
Police check people sitting in a crowded park in Italy.
EPA

“The younger people particularly stopped wearing masks and all of a sudden you have a surge that went right back up.”

Fauci said the US is on track to return to a “considerable degree of normality” this summer — but if it lifts restrictions too quickly, risks turning the way of Italy, which has gone back into lockdown after a surge in cases.

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“We can avoid that if we continue to vaccinate people, get more and more protection without all of a sudden pulling back on public health measures,” Fauci said.

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