Contrary to what President Donald Trump has been advocating, Dr Anthony Fauci, one of the members of the White House's Covid-19 task force on Tuesday warned of dire consequences if the United States reopens its economy too soon.
In a testimony before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, he urged the states not to reopen until they are sure of capabilities to handle a surge in cases once they relax stay-at-home orders.
"My concern that if some areas -- cities, states or what have you -- jump over those various checkpoints and prematurely open up, without having the capability of being able to respond effectively and efficiently, my concern is we will start to see little spikes that might turn into outbreaks," Fauci was quoted as saying by CNN.
"There is a real risk that you will trigger an outbreak that you may not be able to control, which in fact, paradoxically, will set you back, not only leading to some suffering and death that could be avoided but could even set you back on the road to try to get economic recovery," Fauci added.
This is Dr Fauci's first congressional testimony since President Trump declared the coronavirus a national emergency on March 13.
Although Dr Fauci, an infectious disease expert and the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases told the Senate that he did not have a "confrontational relationship" with President Trump, however, his testimony is at odds with Trump's stance on re-opening businesses in America.
Earlier, the White House had tried to block Dr Fauci, from testifying on the Trump administration's response to the pandemic.
"The Appropriations Committee sought Dr Anthony Fauci as a witness at next week's Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee hearing on Covid-19 response. We have been informed by an administration official that the White House has blocked Dr Fauci from testifying," House Appropriations Committee spokesperson Evan Hollander was quoted as saying by CNN.
Trump on Tuesday reiterated his position on opening up businesses in the US saying, "Our (America) testing is the best in the world, by far! Numbers are coming down in most parts of our country, which wants to open and get going again. It is happening, safely!"
Wide testing for coronavirus is viewed as a necessary prerequisite to reopening the US after quarantines and lockdowns. In an effort to further ramp up testing, Trump had earlier announced the allocation of $11 billion to every state, territory, and tribe.
There are at least 1,359,319 cases of coronavirus in the United States and at least 81,847 people have died in the US from the virus.