Dr. Fauci Just Said This is When America Will Return to Normal
During a week in which coronavirus cases are soaring globally, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, went on David Axelrod's podcast The Axe Files to discuss what needs to be done to take control of this pandemic—and when we can all get back to normal. Click through on to hear when he thinks everything will be OK again.
On Why Our Shutdown Didn't Work
"What is clear is that when the world shut down—which is the only way to prevent the virus from going person to person is physical separation—when the European Union shut down, they shut down about 95% of their society. Even though we shut down as it were, we shut down only about 50% of the country. So we never really hit it with a hammer as opposed to what they did in Europe. And that I think that's come back to haunt us a bit because we never got to the point where we could bring it right down to the baseline."
On Why "Don't Tell Me What to Do" Isn't Helping
"The American persona, as I call it, you know, [there's an attitude of] 'don't tell me what to do.' You know, I'm an independent, the spirit. That was the thing that formed our country about authority. But don't push me with authority of not liking to listen to things like, 'You really should be wearing a mask. You really should be physically separating. You really should be not going into crowds.' We don't do that as well as some of the other countries do. And hopefully now that we're in a surge that we realize that we're all in this together, and we all have to contribute to really getting our arms around this and really suppressing that level."
On the President 'Masking Up'
"I think there should be a national unanimity and that this is highly, highly recommended. I know there are reasons, although I'm not so sure I agree with them, but there were reasons against mandating because if you mandate, then you have to enforce, and then you get into a lot of complications of how you're going to enforce it. What I'd love to see is a uniform call of: 'All right, everybody. We absolutely should and must wear masks because we know that the countries that have done that had, have done very, very well!' And that's the reason why I'm actually pleased to see that just yesterday, the president came out and said, 'I think we should be wearing masks.' I think that was a big step forward."
On When Things Will Be Normal Again
"The projection—and again, there's never a guarantee with success of vaccines—but I'm cautiously optimistic that we will be successful, that we would have a vaccine by the end of this year, the beginning of 2021…Then I can think with a successful vaccine, if we could vaccinate the overwhelming majority of the population, we could start talking about real normality again, but it is going to be a gradual process. You're really talking about a year from now."
On the Hostility Towards Public Health
"Isn't that weird? I mean, it just doesn't make any sense that we're having—I mean, I guess it's just a reflection of the divisiveness in our society at the political level. I mean, this is a public health issue and what we're talking about, a fundamental principle of public health. And I don't see how people can have animosity to that. I could understand very well that you have to be careful because of the negative consequences of things like shutting down. That's understandable, which is the reason why we are all trying to open up America again in a way that is safe, that we can do it in a measured fashion. But the hostility against public health issues is difficult to not only understand, but difficult to even process."
How to Avoid COVID-19 Where You Are
Follow Dr. Fauci's advice: To stay healthy, wear your face mask, get tested if you think you have COVID-19, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 37 Places You're Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus.