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Dr. Fauci Said These People are Spreading COVID

This is who you need to avoid to stay healthy.
Two men meeting at a coffee shop

Well into the fall season and one thing has become clear: we are in the midst of the worst COVID-19 surge yet. It is now more important than ever to take precautionary health measures to avoid becoming infected or infecting others with the virus, responsible for the deaths of over 247,000 Americans. During the New York Times DealBook Online Summit on Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, revealed who is responsible for the mass spreading of the virus, and how you can keep your family safe as we approach the holiday season. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus

Remember: Anyone Could Have the Virus, Even if They Don't Look Sick

"One of the difficult aspects of this infection is that it's very unique in that so many people—a percentage of maybe 40%—get infected with no symptoms," he explained. "Those who have symptoms are individuals, about 80% have moderate symptoms that they could handle at home. But there is a segment of our society, which is a significant group of vulnerable people that when they get infected, they have a high degree of risk of getting into trouble. That's disproportionately represented in minority populations, but it's the elderly and those with underlying conditions."

This becomes a "messaging problem," he explains, "because people see people who get infected and it has no problem, but yet we now have 245,000 deaths and 11 million infections."

"This is the worst outbreak that we've had of a respiratory borne illness in 102 years. You can't run away from the data. It's incomprehensible to me how people are not seeing that these are real numbers," he continued, pointing out that the "public health message is your personal and your societal responsibility to your neighbors and to the rest of the country."

Because asymptomatic people are responsible for the majority of the spread, he offers one suggestion to slow the spread. 

"I think surveillance testing for people who are not symptomatic, mainly asymptomatic people, will be an important part of the control," he revealed. "We know that in colleges that have done that, where they've tested people before they get into the dorm or into the class, and then intermittently they do surveillance testing even of people with or without symptoms. Because when you do that, you identify someone who was infected and you temporarily get them out of the contact with the rest of the people. And that's how you can diminish the occurrence of outbreaks. That's a workable public health approach." 

RELATED: Dr. Fauci Says Most People Did This Before Catching COVID

Dr. Fauci Says You Must Assess Your Risk Before Thanksgiving

As for the holidays, when families traditionally gather from across the country to celebrate together, he explains that there is not a one-size-fits-all solution to the question of how to handle this year's festivities. 

"Each individual family unit needs to make a risk benefit assessment for what they want to do with the holidays. It will be different for each person and each family unit," he explains. "If you have in your family, vulnerable individuals, the elderly or people who are immunosuppressed, obese, diabetes, heart disease, you have to ask yourself for this particular holiday season: Do you really want to take the risk of endangering the health and the life of a loved one? Or do you want to say, you know, maybe this time we'll have a much smaller gathering or even just the core bubble of your own little group that you know is generally very, very much following public health measures? Or do you want to have people coming in from different parts of the country, waiting in lines at the airport, being on a crowded plane? You have to make that individual decision."

As for Dr. Fauci, his children have made his health a priority, and opted to stay home. "My daughters who are adult professional women in different parts of the country have made a decision—as difficult as it is, I adore them, I'd love to see them for Thanksgiving—they've made a decision that they want to protect their daddy," he said. "They don't want to put me in a position. So as difficult it is for them, we're going to forestall a family Thanksgiving. I'm going to sit down with my lovely wife, have a meal and watch them on Zoom and wish each other a Thanksgiving happiness. Not every family may want to do that. I think each family makes their own risk benefit assessment."

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How to Survive the Pandemic and Protect Your Fellow Humans

As for yourself, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place until there's a vaccine available: Wear your face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, stay outdoors more than indoors, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.