Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), was one of the most respected voices of reason during the coronavirus outbreak. In a recent poll conducted by The New York Times, at least two-thirds of Americans have expressed confidence in his leadership during the COVID crisis. In fact, just recently, Fauci indicated that as a country, it’s time for us to hit the “reset button” on this pandemic and try our best to flatten the curve.
In that context, we’ve agreed to revisit some of Fauci’s best pieces of advice, all shared in recent interviews and press conferences, on how individuals can prevent coronavirus and help reduce the number of cases in our country. Read on and find out which are Fauci’s best tips for staying safe, and slowing the coronavirus spread.
1. Avoid bars
Through his words, Fauci made it clear that people should stop entering bars. Not only do the bars appear to be highly crowded, they ‘re also often poorly ventilated — the perfect environment for enabling superspreader incidents.
“We need to really take seriously the issue of wearing masks all the time and not congregating in bars,” Fauci explained in a recent interview with InStyle. “I think we can stop that by just closing [bars] because they are certainly an important mechanism of this spread.” In other words, just because the bars in your area are open, that doesn’t automatically mean they ‘re safe.
2. Wear a mask
On Friday, Fauci encouraged public officials to be “as forceful as possible” in order to get people to wear masks, CNN reports. “When you have crowds of people together and you have the lack of wearing a mask, that increases the risk of there being transmissibility. I have no doubt about that,” he explained in an interview for CNBC’s Halftime Report.
Though early on, Fauci supported leaving masks to medical professionals, for the past few months he has been clear in his statements that mask-wearing is an essential line of defense against the virus— and is definitely something we should all do every time we go outside.
3. Maintain social distance
Fauci was very specific about the importance of social distancing in the answer to the pandemic. In an interview for ABC’s Powerhouse Politics podcast, Fauci stated that the “best way that you can avoid either acquiring or transmitting infection is to avoid crowded places,” in addition to wearing a mask.
In addition, he recently told the Senate Committee that new coronavirus cases “could increase to 100,000 a day” if people do not practice social distancing and consistent mask-wearing in public. In response to a question from Senator Elizabeth Warren about the cause of the increase in the number of cases, Fauci referred to the large-scale gatherings. “Look at some of the film clips you’ve seen, of people congregating, often without masks,” he said. Avoiding these gathering is crucial if you want to keep yourself and others safe.
4. Be prepared for situations beyond your control
Even with the right intentions to practice safety measures, there are situations beyond your control. That’s why Fauci recommended that people should be prepared to be in the crowd, even if they’re not expecting to be in one.
“It’s become clear that even when you try to do with certain necessities of life—going out to get food, or going to a pharmacy to get medications—that you may inadvertently come into closer contact,” he explained. You should never leave your house without a mask and hand sanitizer for that reason.
5. Recognize your responsibility
Fauci wasn’t really shy about calling on the American people to consider their actual role in the spread of coronavirus. Understanding that we can either be part of the solution or part of the problem is necessary if we want to keep ourselves as well as others safe.
“You have an individual responsibility to yourself, but you [also] have a societal responsibility,” Fauci explained during a recent White House coronavirus task force briefing. “We’ve got to realize that we are part of the process,” he added. Seeing yourself as someone who can support or hinder the situation will encourage you to make a safer choice.
6. Remember that asymptomatic people are contagious
For Fauci, the fact that asymptomatic people are contagious is among the most disturbing parts of the coronavirus outbreak. He quite often expressed his belief that the presence of asymptomatic cases is why so many people ignore taking the virus seriously and why it continues to spread so easily from one person to another.
As Fauci explained in an interview for ABC Good Morning America, “25 percent [to] 45 percent of the totality of infected people likely are without symptoms, and we know from epidemiological studies that they can transmit to someone who is uninfected even when they are without symptoms.” The secret is to behave as if everyone has it, and to take the appropriate precautions.
7. Get the vaccine when it’s available
After reviewing the Phase One data from the coronavirus vaccine trials, Fauci said the results were “very good news.” However, growing resistance to vaccines more generally, and skepticism about the rate at which the coronavirus vaccine is being created, could mean that many Americans refuse to be vaccinated.
“It’s understandable but unjustified,” Fauci said in response to the skepticism. “We’re not compromising safety; we’re not compromising scientific integrity.” In an interview with CNN, he raised concern that if enough people had opted against getting the vaccine, we would not be able to achieve herd immunity. Instead, Fauci recommends that once it’s available, we should all get vaccinated.
8. Get tested if you feel sick
As far as Fauci is concerned, research is a vital part of the puzzle when it comes to slowing down coronavirus. For that reason, he has advocated “flooding the system with testing, so you really get a good handle about what is going on in the community.”
If you feel symptoms and believe that you might haveCOVID-19, get tested as soon as possible and start isolating even before you get the results. It would save you from transmitting it to family members and others.
9. Trust respected medical professionals
The pandemic has been widely politicized, and there is no denying the fact that the American people have suffered as a result. For this reason, Fauci stated that it is necessary to get your information from the “respected medical authorities” and to behave in conformity to their guidelines.
“Republican, Democrat, anybody else, we are all in this together,” Fauci said in a recent virtual forum at Georgetown University. “I believe for the most part you can trust respected medical authorities. I believe I’m one of them, so I think you can trust me … [and other experts] who have a track record of telling the truth.” In other words, resist the temptation to see the pandemic as a political topic and concentrate on the evidence of trusted medical professionals.
10. Take your underlying health conditions seriously
If you have an underlying medical condition, Fauci has a message for you: take these things seriously and take extra precautions.
“This will be a recommendation,” Fauci said in an interview on Meet the Press. “If you’re a person with an underlying condition and you are particularly an elderly person with an underlying condition, you need to think twice about getting on a plane, on a long trip. And not only think twice. Just don’t get on a cruise ship.” Whether you have diabetes, hypertension, cancer, or some other co-morbidities, you should be prepared to exercise extreme caution until the pandemic is under control.
11. Expect progress to be gradual
Our impatience has been a major obstacle to the flattening of the coronavirus curve, but according to Fauci, it is important that we see improvement as something that is going to happen gradually — assuming that we take appropriate precautions.
“We’ve got to have a delicate balance of carefully and prudently heading towards normality,” Fauci said Friday, talking to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation in Washington. Previously, he warned that having unrealistic expectations might lead people to get discouraged, but throwing up our hands and wanting to stop the necessary safety measures is simply not acceptable.
12. Only allow children to play in groups of 5 to 10
Fauci urged people to be “realistic” about social differences with children during these summer months. “A complete lockdown of children is going to be impossible as the summer months come,” Fauci acknowledged. “I don’t think it’s going to be reasonable outside when kids are running around, playing baseball, that they’re going to be wearing masks and staying [6 feet apart].”
That’s why he advocates restricting the number of children’s group gatherings between five and ten at a time. This is a practical way of reducing the potential spread, while also taking into account children’s needs.
13. Let your groceries sit for a day
Having a safe routine is the best way to avoid coronavirus, and, thankfully, Fauci recently shared an element of his own routine with reporters from The Washington Post. He clarified that when he goes grocery shopping, he makes a point of making his groceries sit untouched for a day or two before using them.
“I go shopping for groceries, or to drugstores,” he began. “I don’t disinfect the bags. In general, I will take the materials out of the bags, then wash my hands with soap and water, and then use Purell, and let everything sit for a day.” Given that Fauci is the country’s premier medical advisor, this is one procedure that you would be wise to imitate.