Dr. Fauci Just Said You Should Look For This in Every Room
As coronavirus deaths top 700,000 worldwide, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has been speaking out about how to protect yourself—and others—from COVID-19. During today's Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health forum with CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Fauci warned that the virus may in fact be airborne, revealing a few secrets on how to stay healthy regardless. Read on to find out how, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these 21 Subtle Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
Preventing the Spread Doesn't Have to Be an All-or-Nothing Approach
The country does not need to completely shut down to recover, according to Dr. Fauci. "I think that that strange binary of approach that either you're locked down or you let it all fly, there's some place in the middle when we can open the economy and still avoid these kinds of surges that we're seeing," he said.
If People Did 5-6 Fundamental Things, the Curve Would Start Flattening in a Month
According to Dr. Fauci if people did 5-6 fundamental things—wore masks, kept social distance, shut down parts and avoided indoor, closely crowded situations and large gatherings, washed hands, and stayed outdoors instead of in — the country would start flattening the curve in just a month to a month-and-a-half. "I think it would be the kind of turnaround that when you know that the Southern States that got hit really badly—Southern California, Arizona, Texas, and Florida—what Arizona did is that they finally did say, wait a minute, we're in trouble. We're going to institute those fundamental principles. And they came right down in a nice curve," he pointed out.
The Fact That So Many People Infected with COVID Never Get Sick Is a Double-Edged Sword
The good as well as bad news about COVID-19 is that 40% of the people who get it never experience any symptoms. "That's good. I mean, you get infected, you get no symptoms. The bad news for messaging is that 40% of the population get no symptoms," Fauci said, pointing out that it is difficult to get a "unified response with this most unusual virus." In other words, the variance of how the virus affects people makes it nearly impossible to get a "unified message, that everybody understands." Because the virus is seemingly less threatening to some as it is to others, they end up "propagating" the virus. "You see the pictures of people at bars with no masks, not social distancing. I'm not blaming them because I think they're doing that innocently because what they're saying incorrectly is that if I get infected, I'm in a vacuum, it doesn't bother anybody else. I'm not bothering them. Don't bother me," he says. "That's incorrect. Because even though you are likely not going to get symptoms, you are propagating the outbreak, which means that you're going to infect someone who infects someone who then it'll have a serious consequence."
We Still Don't Know Why Some Young, Healthy People Get Really Sick
While the majority of people who suffer severe coronavirus infections are older or suffer from a number of preexisting conditions, there are still those who are considered young and healthy who are getting extremely sick and even dying from coronavirus. And Dr. Fauci still doesn't have an answer as to why. "We've gotta be humble that we don't know. We can give the possibilities, but we don't know," Fauci explained.
What to Look For in Every Room
Until it is proved otherwise, it is probably smart to assume that coronavirus is airborne. And, Dr. Fauci suggests acting accordingly. "It gives you a greater reason for wearing a mask at all times, but it also tells you that outdoors will likely be much better than indoors. That when you are indoors, you've really got to look at what the circulation is." One study published by the CDC found that circulation plays a role in the way the virus is spread, highlighting an incident when certain people were infected sitting inside of a restaurant but others weren't. They came to the conclusion that "airflow direction was consistent with droplet transmission" and that improving ventilation indoor spaces is key.
So how do you judge the circulation? The CDC advises restauranteurs with a guideline you can use, too: "Ensure that ventilation systems operate properly and increase circulation of outdoor air as much as possible, for example by opening windows and doors and prioritizing outdoor seating."
On HEPA Filters
Should you be doing things, like using a HEPA filter? "These are things that are unknown now, but that we are going to address because it's something that has always been kind of hanging out there without really understanding the role of aerosol and importantly exactly what aerosol is," Fauci said. The Environmental Protection Agency maintains that air cleaners and HVAC filters will help filter pollutants or contaminants out of the air that passes through them. "Air cleaning and filtration can help reduce airborne contaminants, including particles containing viruses," they write on their website.
Follow Those Fundamentals to Stay Safe
Dr. Fauci has said time and again that there are "five or six fundamental things" that will help slow the spread of the virus. They are: "universal and proper wearing of masks, avoiding crowds, physical distance (six feet, or more), stay away from bars and congregating in places (and in some places, the bars should even be closed), outdoor always better than indoor, washing hands and hand hygiene." Listen to the man, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 37 Places You're Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus.