The federal style of government in the US can act against the country’s best interest in a pandemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Monday.
States and territories cannot always go their own way, Fauci told CNN’s Brian Stelter.
“The federalist approach where you have a central government but you also have the 50 states and other territories that have the capability and are encouraged even to act independently on our own,” Fauci said.
“That works well a lot of times. But when you have an epidemic that grips the entire country, a pandemic where one part of the country influences another part of the country, it’s important to do things in a relatively uniform way while respecting the individual differences in states, in cities and in counties,” added Fauci, who is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House coronavirus task force.
“You have to respect some of the differences but there are some things that you really want to do in common. It’s almost as if you look at the country as a large forest and when you have a fire in some of the trees in the forest, the entire forest is in danger — not just that section of the forest that has the fire.”
The White House has declined to set federal policies on any public health strategies for fighting the pandemic, from mandating mask use to opening high-risk businesses including bars and restaurants. The Trump administration has instead stressed the responsibility of states to control the spread of the virus.