Dr. Anthony Fauci: No one can dispute that lives would be saved if we had instituted social distancing measures when they were first proposed

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Citation From the April 12, 2020, edition of CNN's State of the Union

JAKE TAPPER (ANCHOR): The New York Times reported yesterday that you and other top officials wanted to recommend social and physical distancing guidelines to President Trump as far back as the third week of February, but the administration didn't announce such guidelines to the American public until March 16th, almost a month later. Why?

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI: You know, Jake, as I've said many times, we look at it from a pure health standpoint. We make a recommendation. Often the recommendation is taken. Sometimes it's not. But it is what it is. We are where we are right now.

TAPPER: Do you think lives could have been saved if social distancing, physical distancing, stay-at-home measures, had started the third week of February instead of mid-march?

FAUCI: You know, Jake, again, it's the what-would-have, what-could-have. It's very difficult to go back and say that. I mean, obviously you could logically say that if you had a process that was ongoing and you started mitigation earlier, you could have saved lives. Obviously no one is going to deny that. But what goes into those kinds of decisions is complicated. But you're right, I mean, obviously, if we had right from the very beginning shut everything down, it may have been a little bit different. But there was a lot of pushback about shutting things down back then.

Here is the reporting from The New York Times that Tapper refers to: