US President Donald Trump on Wednesday described a warning from leading US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci earlier this week that the economy and schools could be reopened too quickly.
"For me, that's not an acceptable answer, especially when it comes to schools," Trump told White House reporters when asked Tuesday after Fauci's warnings to the senators if schools and business could be reopened too soon.
Fauci, who heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, also warned that prematurely lifting the locks could lead to additional outbreaks of the deadly corona virus, which has killed more than 82,000 people in the US and brought the economy to its knees.
In contrast, Trump said on Wednesday that the only thing that would be acceptable would be professors or teachers "over a certain age" who are not teaching. "I think you should take it easy for a few more weeks," he added.
The president, who previously focused on the strength of the economy for his November re-election, has encouraged states to reopen shops and schools that have been closed to stop the spread of highly contagious respiratory disease.
The 79-year-old Fauci, a supporter of the locks, has become a target of criticism from far-right American and online conspiracy theorists since he made statements about the outbreak that contradicted Trumps.
In April Trump tweeted a call to fire Fauci after the doctor said lives could have been saved if the country had been closed earlier, sparking speculation that his days in administration could be counted.
"Anthony is a good person, a very good person, I disagree with him," Trump said in an interview on Wednesday with Fox Business Network's "Mornings with Maria" and repeated his refrain that the country needs to be reopened.
"We want to make it safe, but we also want to do it as soon as possible … We have to open it. I don't agree with him at school," said Trump.
When asked about Trump's comments, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio told CNN that Fauci "express an honest voice of caution and I share his view".
"I think we have to be very careful about the steps we take."
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)