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IOWA — Dr. Anthony Fauci on Monday praised Iowa for its response to the coronavirus pandemic and said the state’s measures to slow the spread of the virus are “compatible with what everyone else is doing.”

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he “had good conversations” with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts on Monday regarding both states’ efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Fauci said that even though Iowa does not have an official stay-at-home order, the measures in place are “functionally equivalent” to one.

“I want to make sure people understand that just because they don’t have a very strict stay-at-home order, they have in place a lot of things that are totally compatible with what everyone else is doing,” said Fauci.

Last week, Fauci said he didn’t understand why every state had not yet issued stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of the virus.

“I don’t understand why that’s not happening,” said Fauci during a CNN coronavirus town hall.

Reynolds pushed back against Fauci’s comments and defended herself on why she still has not issued a stay-at-home order, saying Fauci might not know all the facts of Iowa’s situation. 

“I want Iowans to understand that we have taken significant and incremental steps to mitigate the spread of the virus since we identified our first case in Iowa on March 8. We were ahead of many states in our response efforts and we continue to dial up our mitigation efforts,” said Reynolds. 

Fauci clarified his comments on Monday, saying, “When I had mentioned that, I think there was a public response that they weren’t really doing anything at all. They really are doing a very good job.”

Reynolds said her phone call with Fauci was “productive and positive.” She said Fauci told her Iowa is “on the same page” with the guidance he is giving to other states. 

On Monday, Reynolds announced new restrictions that will close more businesses and public buildings to slow the spread of the virus.

The following will now be closed effective at 8 a.m. on April 7 until at least April 30:

  • Malls
  • Social and fraternal clubs
  • Bingo halls
  • Bowling alleys
  • Pool halls
  • Arcades
  • Amusement Parks
  • Libraries
  • Museums
  • Zoos
  • Skating rinks and skate parks
  • Outdoor/Indoor Children’s Play Centers
  • Tobacco and Vaping Stores
  • Race Tracks
  • Toy, Gaming, Instrument, Music and Movie Stores
  • Campgrounds

Reynolds says this escalation of her ongoing disaster declaration is based on data and metrics that she and other state officials regularly review. 

Reynolds has also instructed police to enforce her order prohibiting gatherings of more than ten people. Enforcement may include charging violators with a simple misdemeanor.