Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House Coronavirus Taskforce, addresses his remarks at a coronavirus update briefing Monday, March 16, 2020, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen)
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DES MOINES, Iowa – Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House Coronavirus Taskforce, said that Iowa’s COVID-19 mitigation efforts are “functionally equivalent” to a stay-at-home order.

Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota are under fire by the media and others for having no statewide or regional shelter-in-place orders.

Fauci, during a CNN town hall Thursday night, said that every state should have a shelter-in-place order.

After being asked why every state has not issued that order, he answered, “I don’t understand why that’s not happening. The tension between federally-mandated versus states rights to do what they want is something I don’t want to get into, but if you look at what’s going on in this country I just don’t understand why we’re not doing that, we really should be.”

After being asked about his comments on Friday, Reynolds replied, “Well, I would think to say that, you know, maybe he doesn’t have all of the information. Again, you can’t just look at a map and assume that no action has been taken that is completely false.”

“So I would say to him, does he recognize the fact that we have closed down schools and we’ve actually done that through March 30? Is he aware of the various businesses that have been closed restaurants and bars through April 30? That we have implemented and no social gatherings of more than ten people? That we have added additional closures to the orders that I have put in place to based on data and metrics that we daily look at and move forward?” she responded.

On Monday, Reynolds and Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts tweeted that they had a productive phone conversation about Fauci and reported he said they were on the same page with the task force recommendations.

Later on Monday afternoon, during the White House Coronavirus Task Force press briefing, Fauci said Iowa and Nebraska were doing a “good job” with their mitigation efforts.

“I had good conversations with the governor of Nebraska and the governor of Iowa. It’s interesting that functionally, even though they have not given the strict stay at home — what they are doing is really functionally equivalent to that. We had a really good conversation with both of the governors,” he said.

“When I had mentioned that, I think there was a public response that they weren’t really doing anything at all and they really are doing a very good job, both of them. Those are the only two that I spoke to. But it was a really good conversation. I want to make sure people understand that just because they don’t have a very strict stay at home order, they have in place a lot of things that are totally compatible with what everyone else is doing,” Fauci concluded.

Listen to Fauci’s remarks.

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3 comments
  1. So, does that mean that he’s saying the places that are requiring people to stay in their houses, shutdown parks, not go driving, etc– they’re doing something that is useless?

    Or does he mean something like “I don’t think I’d win a fight against Iowa”?

    1. No, he’s saying what Iowa is doing is functionally the same. Most states with shelter-in-place orders have numerous exemptions, people can still go outside, gobs of the workforce is considered essential and exempt, etc.

      1. I know that in all the orders I’ve looked at– I just double checked Washington state, to be sure– they specifically say not to go outside unless it’s a “necessity.”

        My parents live several miles from the next human being, so I’ve gotten an earful on this.

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