Speaking before Congress on Thursday, the highly respected director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, threw his support behind President Donald Trump's recently announced ban on travel from Europe to the United States.
When asked point blank by Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.) if the travel ban would significantly reduce the spread of community cases, Fauci relied with "a firm yes," according to ABC News.
"Because if you look at the numbers, it's very clear that 70% of new infections in world are coming from that region, from Europe," Fauci continued. "Of the 35 or more states that have infections, 30 of them now, most recently, have gotten them from a travel-related case from that region."
Fauci went on to describe the argument for banning travel from Europe "compelling."
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield also backed the travel ban, adding that "Europe is the new China, and that's why the president made those statements."
Fauci and Redfield are two of the most prominent public faces associated with combating the spread of the novel coronavirus in the U.S., and their support for the ban certainly throws weight behind it. But, not all experts on the matter are in agreement.
Another expert says the travel ban is too late
Tom Bossert, who formerly served as homeland security adviser for Trump specializing in pandemic preparedness, is essentially calling the travel ban too little too late.
Bossert had argued in an op-ed for the Washington Post earlier this week that the first phase of response to the pandemic, border containment, had passed, and that the second phase, community mitigation, must begin.
On Thursday, following the president's address to the nation, Bossert reasserted that the prime time for border containment had passed.
There’s little value to European travel restrictions. Poor use of time & energy. Earlier, yes. Now, travel restrict… https://t.co/FqI63DiyE3— Thomas P. Bossert (@Thomas P. Bossert) 1584008875.0
In two weeks, we will regret wasting time and energy on travel restrictions and wish we focused more on hospital pr… https://t.co/asE2Cj6aMq— Thomas P. Bossert (@Thomas P. Bossert) 1584013989.0
"In two weeks, we will regret wasting time and energy on travel restrictions and wish we focused more on hospital preparation and large scale community mitigation," Bossert argued.
He was not totally critical of Trump, however, and did say that the president "made a tremendous and positive step [with the address] to convey the seriousness of this virus."