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Dr. Fauci Just Said How to Avoid COVID This Winter

“All things considered, we're not in a good place,” he warned.
A woman with braided long blond hair is outdoors in a park during the winter.

"We're in a very precarious situation," said Dr. Anthony Fauci about the COVID-19 pandemic. With hospitals overflowing in certain cities, cases breaking records nationally, and governors in states like California and New Jersey weighing "drastic" restrictions to stem the tide, a long, dark winter is ahead. During a Q&A yesterday with Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, delineated ways you can save yourself—and others—from the deadly, debilitating and relentlessly contagious coronavirus. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.

Dr. Fauci Said "Innocent" Get Togethers are Proving Deadly

Fauci told Zuckerberg "we're not in a good place." "When you look at the numbers almost every day, either breaks a record or ties a record of cases, to have a baseline of between one and 200,000 cases a day is extraordinary. When you look at the number of deaths they have between 1,000 and 2,000, we now over 90,000 hospitalizations, the total of the outbreak is over a quarter of a million deaths, 266,000 deaths. And over 13 million cases."

He predicted things will get worse. "I referred to it on one of the Sunday shows yesterday as a surge, superimposed upon a surge. What we've done now with Thanksgiving, Mark, we're not going to see the repercussions of that for two to three weeks from that. So because of the travel and people congregating the meals, et cetera, you don't see any difference for a day, two, three, five days. You see the difference. So it's three weeks from now, which would put it right at the time that people you wouldn't be traveling for Christmas. So all things considered, we're not in a good place."

He says the winter—and the behavior it engenders—is making things tough. "What we're seeing now, which is a confluence of entering into the cooler months of the late fall and the early winter, the holiday season, where people congregate on indoor settings—wonderful innocent things that we do socially with our family and our friends, having meals in congregate settings—the slope has done this." He shot his hand straight up. "It's on an increment that is almost exponential, which is a really dangerous situation to be in, particularly as we get deeper and deeper into the cold months of the winter. And we have the Christmas holiday coming up. So the obvious question is what are we going to do about it?"

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Dr. Fauci Said How to Survive the Pandemic—and Save Your Fellow Humans

In order to stop this surge and save ourselves from this virus: "What we have is maybe five fundamental public health measures that are pretty easy to implement," says Fauci. "Uniform wearing of masks, keeping physical distances—six feet, if you can possibly do that—avoiding crowds in congregate settings, particularly indoors. And that means typical things like gatherings in restaurants, gatherings in homes where people other than the immediate family unit together—the reason we say that is that the infection in the community level now is driven by people who are without symptoms, because about 40 to 45% of the people who were infected have no symptoms. And we know that a substantial proportion of the people who get infected, get infected by someone who doesn't even know they're infected. That's one of the reasons, but you're wearing a mask. I wear a mask not only to protect myself, but prevent me from inspecting you and you wear a mask for the same reason for me."

"The other thing," he continued, "is to try to the extent possible to do things outdoors, preferentially over indoors. That's going to be tough when you're dealing with states in the Northeastern part, the central part of the country. I mean, you're not going to be doing many things outdoors in December in Minnesota, that's for sure, but we need to try and do that as best as possible."

"We have it within our power to get ourselves through this until we ultimately get a vaccine, which would be, you know, as we say, help is on the way, but it's not here yet," said Fauci. "So we can do these things and we can prevent an even further escalation."

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Dr. Fauci Shared a Final "Word of Encouragement"

Zuckerberg asked Fauci if he had any last words of wisdom before the interview ended. "We are all living through a terrible ordeal that is not over. This issue of COVID-fatigue that really is wearing and tearing at us, both from a personal standpoint, from an economic standpoint, people are suffering in so many different ways from this terrible experience we're going through," answered Fauci. "If you want to call it 'word of wisdom,' it's more 'word of encouragement:' this will end. We've got to hang in there together, and take care of each other — it will end. The vaccines are on the immediate horizon to be started to be distributed in the month of December — tomorrow's December first — as we get to the middle and end of December, we're gonna start getting vaccines distributed. All through January, February, March, April."

He hoped this would get you to commit to the fundamentals, not abandon them. "So rather than getting discouraged, which is an understandable emotion to a terrible ordeal that we've all been through, hang in there. The end is in sight. It's going to get better and better. And even though, as Mark pointed out, we're on a really serious inflection of the curve, we can do something about blunting that curve by doing the fundamental public health measures that as we do it that curve will bend it'll start coming down. And as vaccines kick in, we're gonna start seeing a dramatic change. So, my word of encouragement is: let's all hang in there together, we are going to get through this, guaranteed."

Help make that happen—wear a face mask, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with, practice good hand hygiene and to protect your life and the lives of others, and don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.