Earlier this week Dr. Anthony Fauci made news when he told the Senate HELP committee that if we're not careful, the U.S. could soon see upwards of 100,000 new coronavirus cases a day. Reopened states like Texas, Arizona and Florida are experiencing spikes, and are now shutting down the more contagious locations like bars and gyms. The doctor's warning sounded ominous, but a majority of the press missed one major point. Dr. Fauci said if.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin tried to stress that point during Thursday's White House press conference. While both he and President Trump informed the reporters in the room that the presser would focus on the economy and the impressive June jobs report (4.8 million new jobs created), they were more interested in Dr. Fauci's perilous predictions.
"I think what Dr. Fauci said, is that if people don't take these things seriously, that the numbers could continue to spike," Mnuchin replied.
"It's spiking right now!" a reporter shouted.
"Again, the numbers are up, we're obviously watching those very carefully," Mnuchin told him. "We think there is the right balance and we're working with the states on the health issues and the economic issues."
Asked by another reporter whether the White House regrets encouraging states to reopen, Mnuchin said "absolutely not."
"I think we've had a very careful plan," the treasury secretary noted. "Working with the states...and I think there's plenty of places we can get people back to work safely."
At the Treasury, for instance, they plan to take employees' temperatures and social distance when possible.
Mnuchin was encouraged by the June jobs report, which blew past expectations, but added that he and the rest of the administration are "going to be concerned until every single person is back to work."