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Dr. Fauci Just Said One Thing That Could Stop Coronavirus For Good

The top infectious disease expert shares how you can reopen your city safely.

Yesterday, the United States set another daily record for coronavirus cases, with more than 59,000 in a single day. The rise is why Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has been sounding the alarm all week. Yesterday, he told Kate Linebaugh on The Journal, the Wall Street Journal's podcast, what we needed to do to help control the virus and prevent deaths. "What we're seeing is exponential growth. It went from an average of about 20,000 to 40,000 and 50,000. That's doubling," Fauci said of the cases. "If you continue doubling, 2 times 50 is 100." He warned we could see as many as 100,000 new infections a day. Here's what else he said about how we could stop the virus.


How You Can Flatten the Curve:

closed restaurant

"We've got to tighten things up. Close the bars. Indoor restaurants: either no or make it such that there's very good seating. Make sure people wear masks. Make sure they don't congregate in crowds. Make sure they keep their distance. If you do those simple, public health measures, I guarantee you're going to see that curve come down. It's happened time and again with virtually every other country that's done it."


A Word of Warning to Hotspot Cities:

The doctors checking temperature at the temperature check post on the highway exit.

"A lesson to the other cities and states that when you open and reopen, take a really good look at the guidelines and, in your quest to get things open quickly, don't jump over the guidelines and checkpoints. Do it in a measured way. If you do that, the chances are getting a surge are much, much less than if you just jump over them. So it's —take care of and control what's surging now in certain states and the other states, be mindful of what happens when you open up and throw caution to the wind, because it could happen to you."


On Arizona and Florida:

As for states like Arizona and Florida, where cases and hospitalizations are rising, and whether they "threw caution to the wind": "No, I don't want to say that. Then the message is me against you. So don't even think about saying that. What I'm saying is, among the states, and there is admission from within, some states went too fast, some went according to what the timetable was but the people didn't listen and threw caution to the wind. There were examples where leaders of the state said they would do this in measured ways but then you see pictures of people crowded in bars with no masks. It's a complicated issue."


On Shutdown:

Emergency Orders Miami-Dade County. Coronavirus, Covid-19. Miami Beach Closing Sign.

On whether the hotspot states should shut down: "Any state that is having a serious problem, that state should seriously look at shutting down." He said as a member of the White House Task Force, he is in communication with those states' governors. "If you don't admit it, you can't correct it."


On Spreading the Virus:

woman put on a fabric handmade mask on her face

How human nature has helped spread the virus: "Unfortunately with all the good things about human behavior, there are some things that have really contributed to this that works against us. To take the tack that 'I've been cooped up so long, I'm going to go out and let it rip'—that just doesn't work. One of the things we have to keep emphasizing is that we are—it sounds wishy-washy maybe—but we're all in this together. That's not a soundbite. That's just the reality. I've been trying to stress that getting infected or not really caring that you're getting infected, you could inadvertently infect someone who could inadvertently infect someone and all of a sudden you have a vulnerable person who, you had no reason to believe you were doing any harm, that person gets infected and then you get the hospitalizations. To say that this is benign is not true. This is not inconsequential. There's an individual responsibility when you go out and say, 'Well, it doesn't matter, I'm going to be OK because I'm young and healthy.' You've got to get out of that mindset because you are being part of the problem."


On Vice President Mike Pence:

Republican vice presidential candidate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence speaks to supporters at a rally

On mixed messages from the Task Force—Vice President Mike Pence says things are improving, but Fauci says things are getting worse: "I'm speaking to you as a member of the White House Task Force and I think I'm being pretty clear what I'm saying. I think the Vice President understands that but he is trying, in his role as the VP, to also point out some of the things that are going well. He's an optimistic person. And he's doing a good job as the leader of the Task Force. I coldly—and I don't mean that in a negative bad way—analyze the data and give my opinion based on the evidence. As a member of the Task Force, I'm telling you that we have a serious situation that we really need to address."


On Trump's Economic Priorities:

trump face mask

On President Trump's economic priorities (he's pushing cities and schools to reopen) vs. controlling the virus: "We shouldn't think of it as one against the other. Once you starting thinking there's a public health and the economy reopening, it looks like they're opposing forces. What we're trying to do is get the public health message, if heard and implemented, be actually a gateway to facilitate opening, instead of these guys are on this side and these guys and ladies are on this side."


How to Stay Healthy in Your State

Elderly woman with protective face mask/gloves talking with a friend

Earlier this week, Fauci had advice for every American: "Avoid crowds," he said. "If you're going to have a social function, maybe a single couple or two—do it outside if you're going to do it. Those are fundamental, and everybody can do that right now." So avoid those crowds, wear your face mask, social distance, wash your hands frequently, monitor your health, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these Things You Should Never Do During the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more about Alek
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