Photo taken on April 11, 2020 shows a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site in the Brooklyn borough of New York, the United States. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Xinhua)
Anthony Fauci, one of the leading health experts of the U.S. coronavirus task force team, on Sunday said that earlier COVID-19 mitigation efforts would have saved more American lives.
The expert made the remarks in a CNN interview when he was asked if lives could have been saved in the U.S. with earlier mitigation.
"If we had, right from the beginning, shut everything down, it may have been a little bit different," said Fauci.
However, he further added that making that decision was complicated, saying there was a lot of "pushback" about shutting things down back then.
The country now has over 550,000 virus cases and 21,994 deaths, many in New York. On March 16, the Trump administration issued social distancing guidance, about three weeks after the nation's top health experts recommended they be put in place.
Health officials can only make recommendations from a "pure health standpoint," Fauci said in response to a report from The New York Times which detailed the Trump administration's missteps in the early days of the pandemic.
"Often, the recommendation is taken. Sometimes, it's not. But it is what it is, we are where we are right now."