With more than 4,000 COVID deaths on some days, you have to be wondering: How can you be safe? And are you at high risk? Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, spoke with Barbara Bush during the Futures Forum on Preparedness hosted by Schmidt Futures and Social Science Research Council about just that. He noted "the disparities of underlying conditions, as well as the likelihood that you'll get infected"—read on to see what he said about both, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
Dr. Fauci Said Brown and Black Communities are at High Risk
"I refer to it in sort of colloquial language as a double negative whammy against brown and black people," said Dr. Fauci, when asked about high-risk communities. "First of all, they are in positions in the sense of the jobs that many of them have, where they don't have the opportunity to be behind the computer and doing things virtually—they're out there in the community with jobs that put them into contact with people, thereby making them at a higher risk. So they're higher risk for infection, but as important, if not more important, is the fact that the underlying conditions that they have—diabetes, obesity, heart disease, hypertension, kidney disease, chronic lung disease—makes them more likely to get a serious outcome from COVID-19 disease."
Dr. Fauci Says We Need to Send More Resources to Brown and Black Communities
"What we can do is to get resources now to them, to get them tested, so they can get into proper care quickly if they need the proper care," said Fauci. "But also to me, it shines a very bright light on a failing in our society that is going back decades and decades and decades. And that is the social determinants of health that minorities have to face literally from the time they're born. So we're not going to change that within the context of this outbreak, Barbara, but we really need to make this be a stimulus for us to take seriously—how do we address the social determinants of health?"
Dr. Fauci called it "a multi-decade commitment. It's not something that you could change overnight because just like with HIV, the disproportionate number of minorities who get infected with HIV in our country, we're seeing the same thing with COVID-19. It's very painful. How many more of these do we have to see before we make a national commitment to do something about this? And I hope if there's anything that comes out of this in a true lessons, learned with an agenda to change it, it's taking a look at how to ameliorate these social determinants of health."
How to Survive This Pandemic Yourself
As for yourself, follow Fauci's fundamentals and help end this surge, no matter where you live—wear a face mask, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.