As coronavirus cases and hospitalizations soar, you must be wondering when, if ever, we will be asked to “lock down.” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, spoke at the University of Melbourne‘s virtual Conversations on COVID-19: A Global View with Dr Anthony Fauci and Professor Sharon Lewin and was asked about just that. Read on to see what he said about lockdowns, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had Coronavirus.
Dr. Fauci Was Asked About Lives vs. Livelihoods
“We’ve had, of course, rather robust debates about what is the right balance of lives and livelihoods,” said one questioner. “And I think that debate is far from over because this pandemic is far from over. What do you think of that, Dr. Fauci? How does one balance these two imperatives?”
Fauci responded: “Well, it’s very, very difficult. Had the same arguments right now. I think they weren’t as transparently honest as they should have been, but there is a very, very strong movement that if we damage the economy that the unintended consequences—even on the health of the country—might actually even negate the advantage of the kinds of public health things that you’re doing. And it’s an ongoing discussion, as you said yourself, it’s still being discussed in Australia. It’s very, very heavily discussed.”
Fausi said he was discussing just this with the White House.”Cause the economists, they need to understand more like, what is the balance? I mean, uh, if you, if you close down and I never used the word shut down again, I mean, if I would have used the word shut down the country and locked down, I would be in serious trouble. They would probably be throwing tomatoes at me or something.”
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Dr. Fauci Says You Have to Walk a Fine Line
Fauci continued: “It’s the kind of thing that you’ve really got to try and articulate the importance of walking that fine line of maintaining the public health without so damaging the economy that you’re essentially negating the good that you’re trying to do. I firmly believe that you can continue to open businesses, that you can continue to open up the country from an economic standpoint, the way you were saying about restaurants and about stores and shops and things like that without necessarily shutting things down, you could do that, but it could do it prudently by public health measures that prevent surgeons of infection. We’ve seen it done before. We’ve seen, you know, countries and sections of our own country that have done that successfully. We’re going to really be challenged right now. You guys have gone through your winter.”
He was referring to Australia’s flu season. “I understand you had practically a zero flu season, which we’re hoping that we’re as lucky as you are. I imagined you had a very, very low flu season because you were practicing public health measures to avoid COVID-19. And you had, you had the secondary effect of preventing influenza. I’m really concerned now because in the next couple of months, we’re at the end of October, we go into November. Thanksgiving is one of the most important holidays in the United States. A lot of travel, a lot of family gatherings, and that’s going to be really difficult because we’re already seeing in family settings with six to eight people get together for dinner and you have one person who is infected, but has no symptoms. The next thing, you know, three or four people in that group are infected. And if one or more of them as a vulnerable person, that’s when you get hospitalizations and even death. So we’re going to have a time in the next few months.”
As for yourself these next few months, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Wear a 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 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.