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Dr. Fauci insists that now is not the time to ease COVID-19 restrictions despite falling numbers and vaccine availability

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Texas and Mississippi have reduced or altogether removed restrictions

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said this week that states should not ease COVID-19 restrictions too quickly despite infection numbers continuing to fall.

Fauci's remarks came on the heels of Texas' and Mississippi's governors announcing plans to reduce, and in some cases, entirely eliminate, statewide COVID-19 restrictions, including public mask requirements.

What are the details?

On Wednesday, Fauci told CNN's Erin Burnett that opening states at 100% and eliminating their mask mandates is "ill-advised" from a "public health standpoint."

"We had [previously] had rebounds, which were very troublesome," Fauci added. "What we don't need right now is another surge.

"I understand the need to want to get back to normality, but you're only going to set yourself back if you just completely push aside the public health guidelines — particularly when we're dealing with anywhere from 55 [thousand] to 70,000 infections per day in the United States," he continued.

During the interview, Burnett played a clip of Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) remarking that COVID-19 restrictions were "arbitrary" — and Fauci vehemently disagreed.

"They're not arbitrary," he insisted. "They're based on evidence and data from science. We know that these interventions work, it's very clear: When you implement them, you see the cases go down. When you pull back, the cases go up."

Vaccines are becoming more available

Fauci also insisted that the United States has a chance to get ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic as vaccines are becoming more widely available to citizens.

"Right now, we project that the clinical trials will give us information that by the time we get to the fall, high school students will be able to be vaccinated," he added. "I'm not sure if it's going to be by the first day of school, but sometime in the fall."

"Now's not the time to pull back," Fauci insisted. "Now's the time to really crush this thing by doing both public health measures and accelerating the vaccinations like we're doing."

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