Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, delivered a direct message to younger people about the coronavirus fight via a YouTube interview with basketball star Steph Curry.
“I don’t like to appear preachy to anyone, but I almost want to plead with the younger generation,” to avoid getting infected, he said, specifying he meant people in their teens into their thirties. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had Coronavirus.
What does Dr. Fauci hope you’ll stop doing?
Several colleges have canceled classes or moved them online after coronavirus outbreaks linked to parties and gatherings around the beginning of the new school year. Health officials have expressed continuing concern that younger people aren’t taking exposure to the virus more seriously, because it is most fatal in older age groups and people with pre-existing conditions. But people of all ages, and those who were otherwise healthy, have died or suffered serious physical consequences from COVID-19. And up to half of people with coronavirus may transmit the disease to others without showing symptoms.
“It is true that if you look at the statistics, young, healthy people like yourselves, when you get infected, it is unlikely that you would have a serious consequence, because the overwhelming majority of the young people do very well, particularly if you don’t have an underlying condition,” said Fauci. “There’s the natural feeling after you’ve been cooped up—because we’ve had essentially closed down so many things in society—to say, ‘Hey, wait a minute. If I get infected, the chances are, I’m not even going to have any symptoms. So what do I care about listening to these public health messages? I want to have a good time. I want to go to a bar. I like crowded bars. I want to meet people. I want to congregate.’ That’s understandable.”
“You want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem”
But, Fauci said the one thing younger people need to realize is that “even though you get no symptoms, when you get infected, the fact is that you’re inadvertently and innocently propagating the outbreak. By getting infected yourself, even without symptoms, the chances are that you’re going to infect someone else who will then infect someone else, who then will infect a vulnerable person that can be someone’s father or mother.
“That can be someone’s wife, who’s on chemotherapy for breast cancer. That could be an immune-deficient child or an African-American kid with sickle cell anemia who is highly susceptible. When they get infected, unlike you—in which the chances are you’re going to have no problem—they might have a really serious problem.”
Fauci added that young people are “not in a vacuum for now. You’re part of a society that’s depending on you to not propagate the outbreak, because you want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.”
This week, coronavirus rates have been rising in more than 75 percent of the U.S., which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called “a distressing trend.” On Oct. 22, the number of new cases was 75,049, a 32% increase from two weeks before and the third-highest total of the pandemic.
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How to stay healthy
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.