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Dr. Fauci Says COVID Can Spin You 'Out of Control'

“It’s less about what the virus is doing and more about the immune system spiraling out of control.”
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As coronavirus cases slow down nationwide, flare-ups in some states and the upcoming winter season bring renewed worries for experts, and renewed hopes for a vaccine. In an interview with The New Yorker's Dhruv Khullar, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, discussed how the virus short-circuits your body and talked about when we might have a vaccine. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.

1

Dr. Fauci Says COVID Can Leave You 'Spiralling Out of Control'

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"Autopsies of patients who have died of Covid-19 reveal that the sars-CoV-2 virus infiltrates many vital organs. But the primary battlefield is the lungs—more precisely, the intricate network of air sacs, or alveoli, that allows humans to exchange carbon dioxide and oxygen," reports The New Yorker. "As the disease progresses, the virus saturates the lungs, and the body, in a frantic effort to respond, drums up an immunologic storm, unleashing a flood of immune cells that fights the virus but also causes collateral damage. This is when the second phase of the disease begins. Alveoli are exceedingly delicate, and during the immune system's onslaught their membranes are compromised; fluid leaks into the air spaces, dead cells and proteins create blockages, and maintenance molecules cease to function." "Early on, you want the immune system to be working hard," Fauci told the magazine. "You want to help it fight the virus. But, in advanced disease, it's less about what the virus is doing and more about the immune system spiraling out of control."

2

Dr. Fauci Believes There Will be a Vaccine by Next Year

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Of the vaccine, The New Yorker reports the "goal is ambitious: three hundred million doses by January 2021, which Fauci thinks is doable. "My hope, my expectation, is that we'll have not one but multiple vaccines in 2021," he told the magazine.

3

Dr. Fauci Believes the Vaccine Won't Protect Everyone

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"Last week, the Centers for Disease Control sent a letter to state governments telling them to prepare for the possible distribution of a coronavirus vaccine this fall; it described the progress of 'Vaccine A' and 'Vaccine B'—almost certainly the vaccines being developed by Pfizer and Moderna, respectively," reports The New Yorker. "Though these vaccines are promising, there is no guarantee that they will be cure-alls." "Unless you have a perfect vaccine, which very few are, you'll always have people who end up getting sick," Fauci said. "With or without a vaccine, we're going to need other treatments."

4

Dr. Fauci Said the Stakes Could Not Be Higher

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"Fauci told me that he worries about how vaccine science is being communicated to the public," according to the magazine. "I never liked the 'warp speed' terminology," he said. "It suggests, incorrectly, that you're rushing things. Whenever people hear things are being rushed, they worry about safety. They think you're prematurely putting something out there that isn't entirely safe." "The speed in Operation Warp Speed, he said, really has to do with the reduction of financial risk: the government has committed to buying millions of doses of vaccines before they are proven," reports The New Yorker. "If a vaccine doesn't work, you've lost a few hundred million dollars," Fauci said. "If it does work, if it's safe and effective, you've saved four, five, six months of waiting to get people the vaccine. That's huge."

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How to Avoid COVID-19

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Do as Fauci says: wear a face mask, social distance, wash your hands frequently, avoid crowds and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus.