During an interview on Sunday, NBC's Chuck Todd asked Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, about the need for Americans across the nation to undergo a lockdown, particularly because some states and areas are making people self-quarantine while others are not.
"Are you risking something if not everybody is following the same guidelines?" Todd asked.
"No, Chuck," Fauci replied. "You always wanna be ahead of the curve. The golden rule that I say Is that when you think you're doing too much you're probably doing enough or not enough. That's the thing you gotta do. You don't wanna be complacent. You always wanna be ahead of the curve, but it depends on how far ahead of the curve you wanna be."
The physician made it clear he didn't want his language to be misinterpreted.
"Don't even think for a second that I'm saying we shouldn't – I like to be criticized when I say, 'Oh, you're being too overreactive.' That's good for me," he explained.
Todd went on to ask Fauci if he would prefer the nation to completely shut down for two weeks, assuming Americans would still get a paycheck and money for basic necessities, similar to what FEMA does after a natural emergency.
"Would you prefer a 14-day national shutdown?" Todd asked.
"I would prefer as much as we possibly could. I think we should be overly aggressive and get criticized for overreacting," Fauci explained. "...I think Americans should be more prepared that they're going to have to hunker down significantly more than we, as a country, are doing."
Fauci emphasized that vulnerable groups, particularly the elderly and those who are immunocompromised, should avoid leisurely activities, like going out to restaurants and bars. It was a common theme throughout his Sunday morning interviews with various outlets.
Despite what Dr. Fauci actually said, quite a few in the press spun it to mean that a two-week lockdown would take place across the United States.
Fauci on @MeetThePress:— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) March 15, 2020
"Americans should be prepared that they are going to have to hunker down significantly more than we as a country are doing."
Dr. Fauci would prefer a 14-day national shutdown of some sort to slow down coronavirus, and has made this point of view known in admin, he says on "Meet the Press."— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) March 15, 2020
"I think we should really be overly aggressive and get criticized for over-reacting," Fauci told @chucktodd.
The idea of some sort of a 14-day national shutdown was floated by Chuck Todd; Dr. Fauci didn’t mention it unprompted.— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) March 15, 2020
Fauci answered: “I would prefer as much as we possibly could. I think we should really be overly aggressive and get criticized for overreacting." pic.twitter.com/txKPHact4u
Vice President Mike Pence's Press Secretary, Katie Miller, had to quickly jump in to say that spin was blatantly false.
Nope. He didn’t say this. He said everyone should slow down and all options are on the table. https://t.co/LKQaRBZTTK— Katie Miller (@VPPressSec) March 15, 2020
Spreading misinformation doesn't help anyone. All it does is continue to create greater panic and that's the last thing Americans want or need.