The day after being released from his hospitalization for COVID-19, President Trump tweeted a false claim that coronavirus was less deadly than seasonal flu. Facebook removed the post, and Twitter flagged it as misinformation. Another clapback came from Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert and a member of the White House coronavirus task force, who told NBC’s Kate Snow that the president’s statement “is not correct.” During an online event hosted by Cornell University, Fauci delineated the differences between the two, the best ways to stay safe, and his latest predictions for a vaccine. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had Coronavirus.
Snow asked Fauci what he thought of another Trump tweet in which he urged Americans not to be afraid of coronavirus. Fauci hedged a bit —”My personally contradicting the president of the United States publicly is not a good thing if I want to get my job done,” he said — and reiterated his frequently given advice: “It is important in the environment we’re in right now with COVID-19, and the spread of infection in our communities with 40,000 new infections a day, that there are some things that should be universally practiced. And that is the universal wearing of masks, avoiding crowds, keeping a distance, doing things outdoors more than indoors, and washing your hands frequently. That doesn’t matter who you are, that’s what you should be doing.”
“Let me say for those who have faith in what I say—and I think there are a lot of people who do—that COVID-19 is a serious situation,” said Fauci. “It is a viral disease with the potential to make people very ill and kill them. The numbers speak for themselves. We have 210,000 deaths and over 7 million infections in the United States and over a million deaths globally. People in the United States should realize that it is not a trivial disease.”
RELATED: 11 Symptoms of COVID You Never Want to Get
COVID “is very, very much different from influenza,” Fauci added. “You don’t get a pandemic that kills a million people—and it isn’t even over yet—with influenza. So it is not correct to say it’s the same as flu. It has some overlapping symptomatology early on, but flu doesn’t do the things to you that COVID-19 can.”
Some people might be confused about the severity of coronavirus because “there’s such a broad range of manifestations,” said Fauci. “About 40% to 45% of people who get infected have no symptoms, asymptomatic. Those who get symptoms, most of them are mild—about 80% of them are mild to moderate. That is more like a flu or a moderate flu, where you don’t need medical intervention. But about 15% to 20% of the people get severe or even critical disease.” That, he said, should be enough to make everyone take COVID seriously.
“Even if you are a healthy person with no underlying conditions and you get infected and you are without symptoms, you should not consider yourself in a safe vacuum where what happens to you doesn’t impact others,” said Fauci. “Because even if you don’t get a symptom, it is very likely that you will pass the infection on to someone else, who will pass it on to someone else, who will then pass it on to someone who is vulnerable. That could be somebody’s father, grandfather, wife who’s on chemotherapy for cancer, immunodeficient child. So everybody needs to take this outbreak very seriously.”
It has recently been reported that the White House has tried to block more stringent safety standards the FDA has set for a coronavirus vaccine. “I definitely support the FDA,” said Fauci. “Those guidances were put together by career scientists and regulators at the FDA. And if you dig deep into them, there’s good reasons for why they do that.”
“My projection is that it is very likely that we will know by November or December of 2020 that we have a safe and effective vaccine,” said Fauci. “It is conceivable that we will know earlier, like in October. I think that is unlikely, but not impossible.”
RELATED: 11 COVID Symptoms No One Talks About But Should
As for yourself, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: 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.