As coronavirus deaths surpass 667,000 worldwide, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, spoke with Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC News’ chief medical correspondent and author of Eat This, Not That! When You’re Expecting, about what we can do to stop it—and which U.S. states are in danger of becoming the next hot zone. Click through to see what he said, and to see if your state is on the list.
On Why the Mask is So Important
“There are a number of meta analysis studies that have shown the advantage of wearing a mask to prevent transmission—both from preventing you, if you happen to be inadvertently not knowing you’re infected, be transmitting it to someone, as well as the benefit, maybe not as much, of protecting you from getting infected by wearing the mask that you have.”
On Why You Might Cover Your Eyes, Too
“If you really want perfect protection of your mucosal surfaces…we know you have mucosa in the nose, you have mucosa in the eyes. And that’s one of the things that, you know, theoretically, you should protect all the mucosal surfaces. So if you have goggles or an IPA or an eye shield, you should use it. I mean, it’s not universally recommended, but if you really want to be complete, you should probably use it if you can. It’s just that it’s so easy for people to just make a cloth mask.”
On the Four States in Trouble
“He said Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky and Indiana are among those states starting to show a subtle increase in ‘percent positives’—the percentage of total tests with positive results,” reports ABC News. That’s “a surefire hint that you may be getting into the same sort of trouble with those states that the southern states got into trouble with,” he told Ashton. “Fauci said he and Birx ‘made the point’ in the call with governors that these states need to push residents to wear masks, avoid crowds, avoid the bars and wash hands.”
“If we do that, hopefully we’ll prevent multiple other states from becoming just like the southern states,” he said.
On Sending Kids to School if You Live in a Hot Zone
“Then there’s the very problematic. What happens if you are really in a hot zone, then you gotta be careful because paramount that trumps everything is being sensitive to and intensive to the health of those individuals. So you gotta make and really look on a case by case basis, because if you get in a hot zone, I think families are going to be reluctant to send their children to school. Families call me up all the time about that. And the teachers themselves may be reluctant to do that. So I don’t think there’s going to be a one size fits all here. I think we’ve got to be careful with the main thought being. We want to try as best as possible to get the children back to school.”
On Why Initially He Did Not Recommend Masks
“We didn’t know at that time, that in fact, not only was there a high percentage of people who are infected, who are asymptomatic 20 to 45%, but we learned that asymptomatic people clearly can transmit infections. That’s the reason why right now the recommendation is universal use of mask.”
On Getting Your Flu Vaccine
“I’m hoping that there are two things that go on that the wearing of masks and other coverings, as we just discussed are going to not only protect us against COVID-19, but also help protect us against influenza. So we may find a secondary benefit of the lessons that we’ve learned over the past six months. That’s one thing. The other thing is that it is inevitable that we’re going to have some degree of flu because we have it every year. So that’s the reason why we’re encouraging people to get their flu vaccine. Because if you have two circulating respiratory borne viruses, that really confuses the situation because you’re going to be having people. And the symptomatology is strikingly similar. It diverges off if you have other manifestations, but the initial symptoms of presenting with coronavirus infection and influenza can be really quite similar. So it will be complicating. So go out there and get your flu shot. When the flu vaccine becomes available.”
Do as Fauci Does
As for yourself, avoid catching COVID-19: 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, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these 37 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus.