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Dr. Fauci Explains How to Fight the Virus United

“People are forgetting that the common enemy is the virus,” he says.
Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert and member of the Coronavirus Task Force, spoke at yesterday's American University's "The Kennedy Political Union Presents, Dr. Anthony Fauci" seminar about how to wrestle coronavirus to the ground—and why we haven't already. Read on to see if you have the symptoms, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus

Fauci Says the Current Forecast 'Doesn't Look Pretty'

"When people ask me that, I don't say a second wave—I see a resurgence of the current wave we're in because the second wave implies, historically, like in the 1918 pandemic where they had an outbreak in the spring and then the summer was free of virus. And then in the fall they had the second wave right now, a resurgence superimposed upon what we're currently looking at," he says.

He said the current modeling "doesn't look pretty….And I'm always skeptical about models because models are only as good as the assumptions you put into the model, but some of the models that are predicted things have actually come true."

"You might remember when we were having the daily White House press conferences," he said. "And we got up and said that, in fact, if we don't do the kinds of things that I was preaching about doing, we could have as many as 200,000 deaths. And sadly we have 210,000 deaths. Now the models tell us that if we do not do the kinds of things that we're talking about in the cold of the fall and the winter, we can have from 300,000 to 400,000 deaths, that would be just so tragic if that happens."

Sylvia M. Burwell, American University President, added: "Yeah. And I think for people to put that in context, in terms of the number of people that die from the top killers in our country, in terms of heart disease and other things we've already surpassed those that die from diabetes, diabetes, or Alzheimer's, I think people [would better understand] the magnitude of these numbers," she said. "And if someone told you, if you did these things, you would not get cancer, you would not die of cancer, if you did these things. I think putting it in the broad context is probably a pretty important public health thing that I think we sometimes haven't done as much of as we possibly could."

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'You Don't Need to Lock Down,' Says Fauci. 

"This is my great frustration, and pain really. I mean that—I'm not trying to be melodramatic—is because we know that if uniformly, if we were a uniform and not such a heterogeneous country, but uniformly, if we had everyone have uniform universal use of mass distancing, no crowds, outdoors wash hands, you wouldn't see the surges that was seeing it occurs because of the lack of implementation of simple public health measures," Fauci said. "It's so frustrating because it's not rocket science, you don't need to lock down. And every time I say, you know, I talk about public health measures, the extreme group that we know about say, 'He's trying to shut down the country and destroy the economy'—nonsense. You could carefully and prudently open up the economy and use the public health measures to do exactly what you're saying. Because if you get the level down that so low, when you get the intermittent cases, you can then effectively identify isolate and contact traces. But when you have community spread to the tune of 40,000 cases a day, forget about it. You're not going to efficiently do anything. So that's the reason why you almost want to say, okay, country, you know, maybe 50% of you hate me because you think I'm trying to destroy the country, but do me a favor, listen to me for like maybe six weeks or so. And do these things, you would see the level of infection go down. Absolutely."

He was reminded of his days battling the Ebola and Zika viruses. "There was a lot of disagreement, but we always knew that the enemy was the virus," he said. "It wasn't the person who disagreed with you. The difference now is that people are forgetting that the common enemy is the virus. It's not my opinion versus somebody else's opinion, because when you make things like public health measures an oppositional position, you've essentially lost the game. And that's really what we've got to get away from as we move forward." As for yourself, to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, stay outdoors more than indoors when with people you're not sheltering with, wear your face mask, social distance, and don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.