NEW YORK (77 WABC) — New York City is on the verge of taking the next step on the road to recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and main figure of the White House task force, is optimistic about how the restart is being handled here.
“I can’t guarantee, obviously, that it’s over for New York, because there’s still so much infection going on through the rest of the country,” he said.
But he praised Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio for the phased reopening by region and the mitigation efforts.
“That’s really important as an example for the rest of the country, Fauci told WABCRadio.com. “The one thing you don’t want to do is leap over the checkpoints and the guide points that are given because that increases the risk of having a resurgence.”
However, there are several states seeing surges in COVID-19 cases, causing Cuomo to contemplate a quarantine of travelers from Florida and Texas.
“Although you don’t like to resort to that, sometimes that’s an option that needs to be seriously considered,” Fauci said.
One state that is facing a rise in coronavirus is Oklahoma as President Trump as plans a campaign rally Saturday in Tulsa. The White House said masks will be handed out, but not mandatory. Fauci refused to say if the rally should be canceled, but he did suggest it could pose a danger as thousands will attend.
“Congregation increases the risk,” Fauci said. “Congregation without a mask, even more risk.”
Fauci said he has “not specifically” spoken to Trump about that risk, but has been open in the public about the problem with large crowds, especially with people not wearing masks.
As for getting sports off the ground, he finds the NFL in the most precarious position.
“It’s going to look tough to be able to do that given the season itself and the type of sport you’re dealing with,” Fauci said.
The NBA is going forward with a “bubble” environment without fans next month. But, could major sporting events bring in spectators in the short term? Fauci thinks it’s all about geography.
“If you’re in a city or a town where the infection is well under control, you can see people in the stands, hopefully a little more separated than usual,” Fauci said. “If you’re in the middle of a place that’s having a significant dynamics of viral transmission, you don’t want people in the stands.”