Dr. Fauci Says This Is When You "Don't Have Any Choice" But to Lock Down

Allie Hogan
·3 min read

Since Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti implemented a "Safer at Home Order," which introduced new COVID restrictions, residents in other states are wondering if they'll soon find themselves in a similar position. Anthony Fauci, MD, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), put things in perspective by pinpointing the moment when cities or states "don't have any choice" but to lock down.

During an interview on CNN's New Day, Fauci discussed L.A.'s recent stay-at-home orders and provided some insight into when other cities may have to do the same. To see what Fauci had to say about subsequent lockdowns, read on, and for more on the future of the pandemic, You Should Be Able to Get a COVID Vaccine by This Month, Dr. Fauci Says.

L.A. implemented a new stay-at-home order this month.

older black woman looking out window looking sad
older black woman looking out window looking sad

On Dec. 2, Garcetti signed a "Safer at Home Order," which prohibits dining out and in-person learning but allows some places—such as salons and retail stores—to remain open if they're adhering to specific precautions, including staying below 20 percent capacity and closing before 10 p.m.

California governor Gavin Newsom also announced a strict stay-at-home order on Dec. 3. The stay-at-home order will be enforced in regions of California where local hospitals' intensive care units' capacity drops below 15 percent. Southern California and San Joaquin Valley's stay-at-home orders began Dec. 6 in accordance with the mandate. And for more on the possibility of a nationwide shutdown, Biden COVID Task Force Doctor Says We Need to Lock Down for This Long.

Fauci said he advised California on their restrictions.

Woman in mask holding "closed" sign
Woman in mask holding "closed" sign

"I have been in discussion with the health authorities in the state of California," Fauci told CNN. The nation's leading infectious disease expert said officials from the state called him and said, "We feel we need to do this—what do you think?"

Fauci recalled replying, "You know, you really don't have any choice when you have the challenge to the health care system, you've got to do something like that." And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Fauci described the critical point that could put cities and states on the brink of a crisis.

Exhausted tired doctor or nurse. Virus outbreak. Coronavirus pandemic. Clinic and hospital medical stuff working over hours. Overworked professional. Stress and depression.
Exhausted tired doctor or nurse. Virus outbreak. Coronavirus pandemic. Clinic and hospital medical stuff working over hours. Overworked professional. Stress and depression.

"When you reach a certain critical point of the flexibility of hospital beds, and you see more cases of COVID coming in, you could have a real challenge—and maybe even a crisis—with regard to beds and personnel to take care of the people in those beds," Fauci explained.

The doctor used L.A. as an example: The city could be heading toward a more serious lockdown. "That's the reason why California has certain sections looking at the possibility of a lockdown," Fauci noted. And for more insight from the health expert, Dr. Fauci Wants You to Know This One Thing About the Vaccine.

He is concerned more cities and states will head in the wrong direction.

People in London wearing face masks to protect themselves against coronavirus
People in London wearing face masks to protect themselves against coronavirus

Fauci is concerned that as holiday travel continues, cases will continue to surge, which could send more cities and states into severe scenarios like what L.A. is experiencing.

"We're at a very critical time in this country right now," Fauci said. "We've got to not walk away from the facts and the data. This is tough going for all of us." And for insight into a recent miscommunication, Dr. Fauci Just Apologized for Saying This About the COVID Vaccine.