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Fauci Just Said You Should Never Do This With Your Mask

The nation’s top infectious disease expert spoke out about how to avoid COVID-19.

When it comes to COVID-19, you should be incredibly careful about making assumptions when it comes to who is more likely to be spreading the virus, warns the nation's leading infectious disease expert. In a new interview with Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Dr. Anthony Fauci cautions that everyone should act as if they are equally capable of spreading coronavirus until it is proved otherwise. Read on to find out exactly what he had to say about it—and what you should never do with your face mask. And to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these 21 Subtle Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.


Assume That Everyone—Children and Adults—Transmit the Virus Similarly

Grandparents Relaxing On Sofa At Home With Granddaughters

One of the most dangerous assumptions you can make is that younger or older children aren't spreading coronavirus similarly to adults—despite the findings of two highly publicized recent studies. "There's nothing that we've seen to make us think there's any major degree of difference in infectivity," Dr. Fauci said, pointing out that the two recent studies that came out offered contradictory evidence about children's role in spreading the virus. He added that the NIH is currently in the midst of studying how often children are infected and their role in spreading the virus. "Inherently, there's no reason to believe that a 30-year-old is more infective in transmitting than a 65-70-year-old. There is no evidence, at least that I've run across, that indicates that." 


On the Reason Why Some People Refuse to Mask Up

Image of two young beautiful women friends outdoors with bicycles in park.

"Some young people, not all, but some—because of the extraordinary diversity of this range of clinical manifestations, that's unlike any infectious disease I've ever dealt with—we have 40% or more of the population and completely have no symptoms," Dr. Fauci pointed out. "Some have mild symptoms, some have symptoms that have to keep them in bed for a couple of weeks, some get hospitalized, some go onto intensive care, some get ventilated, and some die. So depending upon where you are, if you're a young person who feels probably inappropriately, that you're completely okay, you're not going to get into trouble—which is statistically, it's true—you may not take this virus very seriously," he continued. "And it really needs to be taken seriously. So wearing a mask, if you don't take the infection seriously, is a tough one to sell."


On Why Masks Should Not be a Political Statement

protesters converge downtown Raleigh, NC to protest COVID-19 restrictions and appeal to reopen businesses

Masks should not be considered a political statement, Dr. Fauci warns. "It becomes even more tough when there's this political symbolism of, if you wear a mask you're on this side of the political spectrum, if you don't wear a mask you're on that side," he said, dubbing that behavior as "completely crazy." "This is a disease, a virus, a public health issue and not a political issue. And now we've kind of politicized masks, which is really unfortunate."


On Why Schools Should Open

Girl with face mask back at school after covid-19 quarantine and lockdown.

"You have to set certain fundamental principles and guidance and support at the national level, but the actual implementation and operationalizing of it has to come locally," Fauci says. "The issue with schools is really important. So I would say that as a 40,000 foot default principle is that we should try to the best of our ability to open the schools for the following reasons. A, the detrimental effects on children who are kept out of school psychologically and otherwise. And B, the downstream unintended ripple effects that go beyond the children and go to the parents who may need to interrupt their work, to take care of the children who are no longer in school. That's a fundamental principle."


On How Schools Should Open

Teacher back at school after covid-19 quarantine and lockdown, disinfecting desks.

In reopening schools, the "safety and welfare and the health of the children and the teachers" is the most important aspect, followed by the parents dealing with the children. Dr. Fauci points out that there isn't a one-size fits all solution. "You can't make one statement about bringing children back to school in this country. It depends on where you are and we've gotta be very flexible." Due to the fact that there are "different levels of infection in different parts of the country," reopening strategies should be planned accordingly. "There may be some sections of the country where the viral activity is so low. You don't have to do anything different. It could just send the children back to school. There are some areas where the level may be low, but not absent and maybe a little trouble. You might want to modify the schedule, a hybrid part online part in person morning, afternoon, alternating days, whatever it is that the local authorities and that there may be some areas that the level of virus is so high, that it would not be prudent to bring the children back to school," he suggests.


On Why Teachers Should Wear Face Shields

female teacher wearing face shield smiling while standing in classroom

While Dr. Fauci walked back on his viral comment that everyone should wear a face shield, he does believe that it is an important piece of protective equipment for teachers. "When teachers say, should I wear a face shield? Of course, because eyes are mucosal surfaces, and you might as well protect that if you want to," he explained. "But the minimum, at least you should be wearing a mask at least. I mean, that's one of the five or six principles that we all should be doing."


On the '5 to 6 Fundamental Things' That Will Effectively Slow the Spread

The riskiest thing a person can touch for COVID-19

According to Dr. Fauci 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.

Leah Groth
Leah Groth has decades of experience covering all things health, wellness and fitness related. Read more about Leah
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