Dr. Fauci Says Don't Do This One Thing During COVID
With coronavirus cases and hospitalizations rising across America, it feels like there's no end in sight. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, appeared on the new podcast Bill Gates and Rashida Jones Ask Big Questions—hosted by the business magnate/philanthropist and Parks and Rec actor—to discuss COVID-19 and what you should and shouldn't do to keep yourself safe. "It's not going to spontaneously go away," he said. "I think that's what we need to understand. It's not going to spontaneously go away." Read on to see what you can do to help end this, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
Dr. Fauci Says Here's the One Thing You Shouldn't Do
Three words: Don't give up. "The message that I like to give to people, because one of the things we're dealing with is a degree of essentially fatigue that people have about going through this," he says. "You know, it's amazing, it's almost like a distortion of time. I mean, I want to tell people, don't give up. This is going to end. Science is going to help us with a vaccine and therapy, and if we pay attention to the public health measures, we can gain control of it. The thing you don't want to happen is that people said, 'I've done this so long. I'm tired of it. The heck with it. I'm just going to go out there and do what I want to do.' That would only make this be more prolonged than it would end it." Read on to find out what you should do in order to not die.
Dr. Fauci Said We Need to "Double Down"
How do we stop the spread? "I think we're going to have to double down on the things that we've been talking about all along," he said. "The universal use of masks. Physical distancing. Avoiding crowds. Doing things, if possible, I know it's tougher in the winter, but if possible, in an outdoor setting versus an indoor setting. And washing your hands frequently."
Dr. Fauci Said The Colder Months Will Make Things Worse
"I'm actually concerned, as we enter the cooler months of the fall and the colder months of the winter, because our baseline of daily infections is indicative of a good degree of community spread that's already here existing," he said. "If you go into the winter, you would like to have as low a level of infection as possible, so that you're starting off in a problematic situation at least without having your hand tied behind your back."
Dr. Fauci Said the High Community Spread is Dangerous
Jones brought up Vermont as an example; they have low test positivity, or did for a while; numbers are creeping up. "If you have a low test positivity is what they're referring to, namely the number of tests you do, what percent are positive, when you get an intermittent infection, which you inevitably will, no place is going to be zero infections during the winter," says Fauci. "There will be infections. If you have a low level of infection in the community and when you get these little blips, you can contain them much more easily by identification, isolation, and contact tracing. When you have such a high level of community spread, it becomes very difficult to do that."
Dr. Fauci Says He's Worried About People Not Taking the Vaccine
"We're not in a good place there Rashida, because there is a baseline level of anti-vaccination in the country that goes back before COVID-19 and relates to the measles, mumps, rubella, and those types of attitudes about…which are not based on science, that are just based on falsified data," he said. "We have a task on our hand. We have got to reach out in a very strong way to the community, to be transparent with them. When I say reach out, I mean engage the community with people that the community trusts. This is particularly true of the minority populations, because of the historical understanding of the mistrust that African Americans, and to some extent Latinx have about the federal government. It dates back to historic shameful things that have happened. But they are very skeptical about getting vaccinated. You have a scientific task of developing a safe and effective vaccine, and you have a PR task of making sure people understand why it's important for them and their families to get vaccinated."
Dr. Fauci Was Asked Who Will Get the Vaccine First
Pfizer and Moderna both announced their vaccines were more than 90% effective. As for who gets the vaccine first, "It hasn't been officially determined yet," says Fauci. "Usually health care providers, those who put themselves in harm's way of taking care of people. Then there are those who have underlying conditions, the elderly with underlying conditions particularly, that we know lead to an adverse outcome. Then, people who are essential workers in society, to make society work well. And then you have older people who may not have underlying conditions but just are risky because they're elderly. Then you get students. And then you get everybody else. There's five layers. That isn't the definitive one yet. They haven't fully decided. But if they do it the way they've done it in the past, that's the way it'll be."
Dr. Fauci Discussed When We Might Get Back to "Normal"
"If you get 75% effective and 69% of the people take the vaccine, you still have a lot of infection that has the capability of spreading. That's why people ask me the question all the time, 'When are we going to actually get back to normal?' Well, I don't think it's going to be for a while, but I think we're going to get closer and closer to normal, namely a combination of the protective effect of the vaccine and a moderate degree of public health measures. I don't mean lockdown. I mean, you wear a mask when you're in a crowded situation. You maybe have theaters or sports events that you don't fill it to full capacity, but you at least have spectators. That's a big difference than, essentially, shutting everything down."
How to Survive the Pandemic
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. "We have seen what happens when you don't do that by the very unfortunate experiences that have become very public now in the United States. I mean, that's proof positive," says Fauci. And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.