Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday that President Donald Trump decided not to impose a strict quarantine on parts of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut after officials had “very intensive discussions” at the White House with the President last night.
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that it was important not to enforce something that would create “a bigger difficulty,” and instead issue a travel advisory for the New York metro area.
“After discussions with the President we made it clear and he agreed, it would be much better to do what’s called a strong advisory. The reason for that is you don’t want to get to the point that you’re enforcing things that would create a bigger difficulty, morale and otherwise, when you could probably accomplish the same goal,” Fauci told CNN’s Jake Tapper.
Fauci said about 56% of the country’s new infections are coming from the New York City area.
After the number of reported US coronavirus deaths doubled to more than 2,000 within two days, officials are advising residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut not to travel domestically.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued the travel advisory Saturday, urging residents of the three states to “refrain from nonessential domestic travel for 14 days effective immediately.” The states would have “full discretion” on implementing the advisory, which exempts employees in critical fields.
“What you don’t want is people traveling from that area to other areas of the country and inadvertently and innocently infecting other individuals,” Fauci said. “We felt the better way to do this would be an advisory as opposed to a very strict quarantine. And the President agreed, and that’s why he made that determination last night.”
‘A reality and a rhetoric’
Tapper also asked Fauci whether he can “assure the American people that whether or not they get the help they need from the federal government does not depend on whether their governors are appreciative enough of the federal help or flattering enough of the Trump administration,” to which he said: “Jake, I think the reality, not the rhetoric, but the reality is that the people who need things will get what they need.”
“There’s a reality and a rhetoric. I think that – I mean, I know the spirit of the task force and when we talk about when people need things, doesn’t matter who they are, we try to get them what they need,” Fauci continued.
The President had said during a news conference on Friday that he advised Vice President Mike Pence not to call Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan or other governors who have been critical of the federal government’s response to the crisis.
“You know what I say? If they don’t treat you right, I don’t call,” Trump said, before adding that Pence is “a different type of person” and will “call quietly anyway.”
This story has been updated with additional comments from Dr. Anthony Fauci on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
CNN’s Devan Cole contributed to this report.