Although potential COVID-19 vaccines are on the way, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, says “we’ve really got to pay attention to the public health measures that we are not uniformly implementing throughout the country” to blunt the coronavirus, such as universal mask-wearing and social distancing.

“Unfortunately, we are not alone in this,” said Fauci in an interview on MSNBC Thursday. “If you look at what’s going on in Europe right now, this … COVID fatigue, of people feeling they just can’t take it any longer, is having them do risky things that are leading to surges.” Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had Coronavirus.

Lockdown Unnecessary in the U.S., Fauci Says

That rise in cases across Europe—blamed on people tiring of restrictions and becoming lax about mask-wearing and avoiding gatherings—has led to countries like the United Kingdom and France imposing stringent nationwide lockdowns, a situation Fauci doesn’t favor for the U.S. even though the country is setting records for new cases.

Fauci expressed frustration that some Americans have resisted public-health advice because they fear it will lead to lockdowns. “One of the confusing issues is that people think when you’re talking about masks, when you’re talking about distance and avoiding crowds, that you mean shutting down the country or shutting down the economy,” said Fauci. “You don’t need to shut down. We’re not talking about shutting down. We’re talking about the consistent implementation of public health measures, which unfortunately we’ve seen in a disparate, spotty way.” 

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More At-Home Testing Needed

Fauci said that in addition to current public-health measures, widespread at-home COVID testing is necessary. “We should be flooding the system with tests to determine the penetrance of the asymptomatic spread,” he said. “We don’t have that availability of tests we should have. We should have tests that are point-of-care, sensitive, specific you can do at home. You could get the results yourself, so that you can know when you wake up in the morning, when you want to go to work, whether or not you are infected or whether the people you might want to invite over to your home for a holiday are infected. We don’t have that. We should have that.”

As for yourself, 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.

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