Washington — Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Sunday that all options are on the table for slowing the spread of the coronavirus and said vulnerable populations should avoid crowded places as public health officials work to combat the deadly illness.
"You don't want to make a pronouncement that no one should ever go into a restaurant," Fauci said on "Face the Nation" on Sunday. "I mean, I think that might be overkill right now, but everything is on the table."
As the nation grapples with the coronavirus, public health officials have urged Americans to avoid large gatherings and crowded places, and limit their personal interactions to minimize the spread of the illness.
Fauci said he personally wouldn't visit a crowded restaurant "because I don't want to be in a crowded place," and said high-risk populations should "think twice" before traveling on a plane or going to a crowded place for an extended period of time. Teleworking, he added, "should be done to the extent it can be."
"I have an important job to do," he added. "I don't want to be in a situation where I would be all of a sudden self-isolating for 14 days."
There are nearly 3,000 reported cases of the coronavirus nationwide, hitting 49 states and the District of Columbia. West Virginia is currently the only state without a reported case.
Public health officials have rushed to address the spread of the deadly virus. Some of the nation's largest school districts have closed for weeks, major sporting events have been canceled and governors in more than two dozen states have declared states of emergency. President Trump declared alast week and implemented travel restrictions on foreign nationals traveling to the U.S. from Europe.
The House passed last week a legislative package designed to mitigate the economic impacts of the coronavirus. Mr. Trump endorsed the measure, which will be considered by the Senate next week.
Facui acknowledged the number of infections in the U.S. is likely to increase, but said the goal of public health officials is to head off reaching the "maximum peak."
"Our job is to make sure it doesn't do the maximum peak and actually blunts," he said. "Within that blunt there will be many new infections. We want to make sure we don't get to that really bad peak in Americans."