Fauci believes California made smart choice by implementing latest COVID-19 stay-at-home orders

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci speaks with Vice President Mike Pence as they participate in a news briefing with member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force in the James S. Brady Press Briefin (Getty Images)

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, believes California officials made the right choice by implementing its latest coronavirus lockdown measures, adding that the move will rescue the state's strained hospital systems, FOX News reported. 

"They were right at the cusp of having the hospital beds be overrun in the sense of not having enough beds, not having enough trained personnel, particularly intensive care," Fauci said, during an interview with the Milken Institute’s 2020 Future of Health Summit.

"They made a difficult decision but I believe it was the prudent decision where they said, ‘you know, if we keep going up at the rate we’re going, very soon our hospital system, our public health system is going to be stretched to the maximum," Fauci added. "So now’s the time to call a timeout, shut down, not indefinitely, but just enough to add some flexibility to the hospital system,' otherwise, they could be in significant trouble."

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According to Fauci, other states are facing a similar situation ahead of Christmas when travel is likely to pick back up and people weigh whether to see family.

He stopped short of identifying which states, but other officials have criticized Calif. Gov. Newsom's orders, citing a lack of evidence. 

Gov. Gavin Newsom's "regional stay-at-home" went into effect at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, in the vast region of Southern California, much of the San Francisco Bay Area and a large swath of the Central Valley. The order was triggered when each region's intensive-care unit bed availability dipped below 15%, according to the California Department of Public Health.

RELATED: Regional stay-at-home order kicks in for Southern California

The order bars restaurant dining, shutters salons and limits retail in an effort to curb spiraling coronavirus infections and hospitalizations. It also prohibits residents from gathering with people not in their households.

The state on Sunday reported a record number of new daily virus cases for the third consecutive day, with infections topping 30,000.

RELATED: Stay up to date on all coronavirus-related information