Dr. Fauci Just Issued a Big Warning About Getting Infected
"I'm not pleased with how things are going." That's the bottom line for Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a key member of the White House coronavirus response team. He sat down with National Geographic to discuss the status and progress of the coronavirus fight as part of their event, "Stopping Pandemics." In his mind, there's one big thing Americans should be doing, but aren't, to stem the tide of infections. Click through to see his thoughts on that, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
On How Long The Crisis Will Last
"How long we're going to have to be doing this depends totally on us," said Fauci. "If we keep running away from the reality of the need to do it, it could linger on and linger on. You hear people talk about … herd immunity. 'Let's just get a lot of people infected, and then we'll be protected if you do that.' That is probably true, but a lot of people are going to die if you do that."
On What You Can Do To Stay Healthy
Fauci reiterated his key advice to prevent infection: "Distancing, masks, avoiding crowds, outdoors is better than indoors, washing hands, doing things like closing bars where appropriate, because that seems to be a hotspot of transmission," he said.
On the Alleged Russian Vaccine
This week, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed his country had developed a coronavirus vaccine, an event Fauci looks on with skepticism. "Having a vaccine and proving that a vaccine is safe and effective are two things," said Fauci. "I hope that the Russians have actually definitively proven that the vaccine is safe and effective. I seriously doubt that they've done that."
On Threats to His Life
The coronavirus fight "has taken on a political tone like nothing I've ever seen," said Fauci. "I've gotten people who are upset that I was putting effort into HIV/AIDS. A lot of that was people who were homophobic and felt I was diverting resources to people that they didn't think should be part of society. Ridiculous. But that was never anything that was serious the way it is now, where people get angry enough that they threatened my life and terribly harassed my wife and my children with phone calls."
On What Disturbs Him
Fauci noted that some states are seeing fewer deaths and hospitalizations. However, "The thing that's disturbing to me is that we're starting to see the inkling of upticks in the percent of the tests that are positive, which we know now from sad past experience is predictive that you're going to have more surges," said Fauci. "So unless we all pull together to get that down—and we don't have disparities in some states are doing this, and some states are doing that—we're going to continue to have this up-and-down. That's the thing that I'm concerned about. I believe we have it within our power to be able to get that [infection rate] down. Bottom line is, I'm not pleased with how things are going."
On 'What's Getting Us Into Trouble'
"Not only do you have an individual responsibility to yourself, you have a societal responsibility to help us all get this outbreak under control," said Fauci. "Because when it is under control, then you could start doing with much less difficulty, the things that you really want to do. We could start to open the economy safely. We could get the jobs back. We can do all those things, but the nature of our country … [is] we don't like authority. That's getting us into trouble."
As for yourself: To get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these Things You Should Never Do During the Coronavirus Pandemic.