‘I Guess We Got To Do It’: Dr. Fauci Explains The Moment That Led To Trump Extending Social Distancing Mandate

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Shelby Talcott Senior White House Correspondent
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Dr. Anthony Fauci explained the moment President Donald Trump decided he needed to extend the social distancing mandate because of the novel coronavirus during a CNN interview Monday morning.

Trump changed his mind Sunday on his original plan to re-open America by Easter, announcing that the social distancing guidelines would be extended through the end of April.

Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the coronavirus task force, explained on “New Day With Alisyn Camerota and John Berman” that Trump listened and “got it right away” after being shown the data. Fauci also said Trump’s “first goal is to prevent suffering and death” and this was part of the reason why he knew the guidelines should be extended.

“You know, interestingly, we showed him the data, he looked at the data and he got it right away, it was a pretty clear picture,” according to Fauci. “Dr. Debbie Birx and I went in together and leaned over the desk and said ‘Here is the data, take a look.’ He [Trump] looked at them, he understood them and he just shook his head and said ‘I guess we got to do it.'”


Fauci added that “it was very important” to extend the social distancing guidelines through Easter. He said that although he is “sensitive to the idea that the economy could suffer,” pulling back now and allowing things to return to normal could actually “hurt the economy.”

“From a public health standpoint, we felt strongly that it would have been the wrong decision to pull back,” Fauci said. “I mean, we are scientists, physicians, public health officials. We’re not economists. We’re sensitive to the idea that the economy could suffer.”

“But it was patently obvious looking at the data that at the end of the day, if we try to push back prematurely, not only would we lose lives, but it probably would hurt the economy. So you would lose on double accounts. So, to us, there was no question what the right choice was.”

The doctor also said that the data indicated that the U.S. wasn’t going “going to reach a peak in turn around the way we wanted to within the time frame that was originally estimated.” (RELATED: Dr. Anthony Fauci Dumps Cold Water On The Media’s Latest Anti-Trump Narrative)

“So I thought it was prudent and I think the right decision to extend them another 30 days. Because what you really want to do, you want to start seeing some flattening out and turning around of the curve and it coming down. It wasn’t doing that,” Fauci explained.