Roughly 50,000 Instagram viewers got a taste of what a White House briefing from the coronavirus task force would be like if only the doctor, not President Trump, answered questions.
Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry hosted Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a key member of the White House’s pandemic response team, live on Instagram to ask questions about the coronavirus pandemic.
Curry began the interview by saying he wanted to provide accurate medical advice straight to the public. “I think we all can take some of the information we’re going to hear and pass it to our inner circles,” he said. “Information is power.”
With a basketball hoop propped up in the background of his office, Fauci began by explaining how COVID-19 is different than the flu. “It’s significantly more serious,” he said. “The mortality of seasonal flu that we confront every year is about 0.1%. The overall mortality of the coronavirus is around 1%. So when people kind of compare it, it’s really, really different in its degree of seriousness.”
President Trump himself has compared the coronavirus to seasonal influenza.
Curry said he wanted to encourage his followers to take the threat of spreading the virus seriously, describing photos and videos of young people at parks and beaches.
Fauci emphasized that social distancing is vital, saying young people should realize they’re not immune to the virus.
“We are starting to see that there are some people, like you, who are younger with no underlying conditions, who are getting seriously ill,” Fauci said. “It’s still a small minority but it doesn’t mean young people like yourself should say, I’m completely exempt from getting seriously ill.”
Fauci went on to say that self-isolation not only protects individuals themselves, but prevents them from unknowingly passing it to groups at higher risk, like the elderly and immuno-compromised populations.
Curry and Fauci covered everything from the effectiveness of masks to the accessibility of tests.
“One of the most popular questions I get from people is, what does it mean to be recovered?” Curry asked. “Can you get it a second time?”
Fauci said specific testing hasn’t been done yet to determine whether re-infection is possible but said if COVID-19 acts like other viruses he tracks, it likely won’t happen. He said health officials will have to develop testing or guidelines for when it is safe to resume normal life after being infected.
“There’s a dichotomy between people who are frightened to death and people who don’t even believe it,” Fauci said. “It’s not convenient to lock yourself in, it’s not convenient for you [Curry] to not be playing basketball … but we’re going through a time when we have to pull together as a country to not get intimidated and do the kinds of things that can put an end to it.”
As questions and comments flooded the screen, one stood out: former President Barack Obama.
“Listen to the science. Do your part and take care of each other. Thank you, Steph and Dr. Fauci.”