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Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert and member of the Coronavirus Task Force, discussed the coronavirus yesterday with actor and activist Matthew McConaughey via Instagram Stories. The two covered everything from how long the virus lasts on surfaces to whether your blood type matters, and he warned about a long-lasting COVID-19 symptom—read on for all of Dr. Fauci's best quotes, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
On Whether Sunlight Kills the Virus
"That's a truism. That's one of the reasons why outside in the sun, when you are interacting, that that is much, much better than being inside." Dr. Fauci added that the air circulation is, naturally, better outside. "That's the reason why one of the four or five things that we say are important is: outside is always better than inside. And that's why when restaurants open, if they open you encourage tables that are outside and separated from each other."
On Whether COVID-19 Lasts on Surfaces for 72 Hours
"What investigators have done is that they've gone and shown that you can get it off surfaces of cloth for 72 hours. What hasn't been shown is that it is an inoculant"—meaning, something that can give you a disease—"that's large enough to actually transmit. So it is absolutely true that you can isolate it from doorknobs, steel, chrome, or what have you for up to 72 hours. But we don't think that that is a major modality of transmission."
On How Many Feet To Stand Apart From People—Six, Eighteen, a Hundred?
"At least six."
On Where to Never Go, and What to Do to Stay Safe
"For goodness sakes, stay away from crowds. Just stay away from crowds. Try to be outside much more than inside. When you're inside open the windows, let the air in. That's really important. Wash your hands and the thing that's important. Bars are the hotspots, no hanging out in bars because we know when the bars get closed, the infection goes down when people just let it rip and go to bars, it goes up, you know, I, I often say, and I don't mean this to be provocative about it. You know, take your choice. You want to open the bars or you want to open the schools. You know, if you open the bars, you're going to have community spread that would make it more difficult to open them up."
On How Flocking to Beaches, Bars and Rallies Puts Others at Risk
"That is true. True. That's totally true. And that's one of the messages we have to keep getting across because most of the people who do that are young, healthy, and if they wind up getting infected, it's unlikely that they're going to get seriously ill. So there's this misperception that says, 'Hey, if I get infected, I'm in a vacuum. I'm not hurting anybody. Let me worry about myself.' That's completely incorrect."
On Why We Can't Shut Down the Entire Country
"It goes beyond the economics. And let me tell you why, because if you shut down, even if it was no economic issue, what happens is that psychologically, it could be devastating. And if you're really shut down, children may not get their vaccinations. People don't go to hospitals when they get chest pain, people who follow up because they have an elevated PSA or a mammogram, that's got something. There are a lot of, there's a lot of different things that could go wrong beyond the economy."
On Whether or Not There Should be a Mask Mandate
"That is the subject of a lot of debate. And the reason is that, first of all, my recommendation, as, as you probably know, cause I've said it publicly so many times is that absolutely we should have universal where make a must. The difficulty with mandates is that there tends to be a pushback about—you have to waste time enforcing it, or can you really use the power of persuasion from the leadership….And there's a debate. Whether you get any extra mileage out of mandating it for myself personally, I would say everybody should have to use it."
On How Asymptomatic People Can Transmit the Virus
"When you look at the level of virus in the nasopharynx of someone who's symptomatic versus without symptoms, the level is exactly the same. So you can make the assumption that even though you, without symptoms, you can spread it."
On How Some States are Still in Trouble
"We've got to do it by realizing that we are all in this together and unless we do it together, we're not going to get this under control. So you had the outbreak in the Southern states: Florida, Texas, Arizona, California. They finally, after they saw the big surge, did things to turn it around. So if you look at the numbers, now they're going in the right direction. However, there are other States now that are starting to have that little uptick in percent positive. That's a sure fire predictor that if you don't do something about it, it's going to take off as if we don't, we're going to have another up and down. So the one thing we want to avoid is get hit, do okay. And get hit, do okay. That's a losing proposition. You've got to all do it at the same time and get it down."
On What Happens if Everyone in the World Contracts the Disease
"Well, if everyone contracted it, even with the relatively high percentage of people who are without symptoms, Matthew, a lot of people are going to die because….people who are elderly and people at any age who have an underlying condition, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, heart disease [are at risk]. If you look at the United States of America with our epidemic of obesity, as it were with the number of people with hypertension, the number of people have diabetes. If everyone got it infected, the death toll would be enormous and totally unacceptable. And that's the reason why we are against saying, 'Let it fly, let everybody get infected. And we'll be fine.' That's a bad idea."
On When We'll Get the Vaccine
"Likely the end of this current year, the beginning of 2021 moderate numbers of those will be available as we get well into 2021, we should have enough for everybody."
On Whether Your Blood Type Matters?
"The answer is yes, Matthew, but it's such a slight difference that it isn't something where people with type A need to start worrying a lot. The difference between one blood type of the other is significant but miniscule."
On How the USA Made Mistakes
"Anybody said they did it perfectly, it's not facing reality. There were certain missteps early on with the testing issue, which we finally corrected. There were some things we did really well….The thing that is of concern that then to me now, and unless we correct it in the future, we need to pull together in a uniform way. Because when you have the dynamics of an outbreak, Matthew, if you have one weak link in the chain, you don't win the game. It just will not work. We've got to pull as a nation. One of the things that's our handicap is that the good news that we're independent people. And that's the kind of thing that we're individual. We don't like authority very much. We don't like to be told what to do….[but] the public health should be a mechanism to open the country. Some people think it's an obstacle to opening up the country. That's a complete misinterpretation. You use public health measures to help you to safely open up the country."
Can You Get COVID Twice if You Have Antibodies? And is That How the Vaccine Will Work?
"Good question," answered Fauci. "If you have antibodies that are neutralizing, it will block the virus. Well, we don't know is how long after you recover from infection, those antibodies last and whether or not you have antibodies that are very powerful because some antibodies there are antibodies to the virus, but they're not very protective. The ones that are really protective of call neutralizing antibodies related to your question about the virus—the vaccine, when you vaccinate somebody, which is shown in the early studies, which are now being much more enlarged, that when you vaccinate somebody with the vaccines that have been used now that are in clinical trial, you would do a level of antibody that's equivalent to, if not greater than, what you get with natural infection, which is a strong predicted that for at least a finite period of time, you will be protected. What we don't know, because we've only been doing this for six months is how long that protection lasts."
On the Long Term Effects
"We're starting to see more and more people who apparently recover from the actual viral part of it, and then weeks later, they feel weak, they feel tired, they feel sluggish, they feel short of breath," said Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert. "It's a chronic projection forward of symptoms, even though the virus is gone, and we think that's probably an immunological effect….It's very disturbing because if this is true for a lot of people, then just recovering from this may not be okay. You may have weeks where you feel not exactly correct."
On the Healing Effects of Zinc and Possible Dangers of Advil
"There's a placebo effect to make you feel better and less anxious, but in reality, Matthew, it doesn't have any effect," he said of Zinc. He said it's OK to take Advil.
On If We'll Ever Actually Get Through This
"Oh, for sure. I mean, I don't want to get too metaphoric about it, but you know, our country has been through some very, very difficult situations. You know, we've been through with depression, we've been through a World War. I'm old enough to have been a baby during World War Two. But I remember how the country absolutely pulled together. We pulled together after 9/11. This is equivalent to that. Matthew." Mask up and stay safe—to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 37 Places You're Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus.