Connecticut -- Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said Connecticut is currently "in a good place" because the state's baseline rate of COVID-19 infections is very low, predicting the state will have an upper hand if flare-ups develop this fall.
"It is not inevitable that your numbers will go up" if the state continues to follow the fundamental principles of preventing the spread of infection, said Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He was referring to things like social distancing measures, mask wearing, contact tracing and making testing readily available.
"It is possible that you can use the favorable position that you are in now to keep the numbers down," he said. "I urge you to utilize the advantageous position that you're in, in Connecticut, with a very low baseline to try and keep it there."
Fauci said the conditions are right to send students back to class in the fall.
He said as long as the infection rate is low in Connecticut, it should be relatively safe to reopen schools if strict social distancing rules are followed.
"Connecticut is in a good place, the numbers that the governor just showed are really indicative that you are in a situation that you now in many respects have the upper hand because you have such a low rate that when you do get new cases, you have the capability of containment," Fauci said.
Monday marked the first time Fauci has participated in Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont's coronavirus briefing with reporters. Lamont has invited other medical experts, including former Food and Drug Administration Director Scott Gottlieb, to make presentations and answer questions from reporters.
Lamont referred to Fauci as the "most credible voice coming out of Washington, D.C., the voice I listen to, the voice that's going to give us some confidence that what we're doing, we're doing appropriately and we know that we can change course if we have to."
Lamont's comments come as members of the state's largest teachers unions have voiced concerns about returning to the classroom, given the continuing pandemic.
During an earlier video conference appearance, Fauci told physicians and medical students at New Hampshire's Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, that while the nation's "default principle" should be having children return to school, he warned that may not apply to those states with high infection rates.
"There may be some areas where the level of virus is so high that it would not be prudent to bring the children back to school," he said. "So you can't make one statement about bringing children back to school in this country, it depends on where you are."
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