WASHINGTON, DC – Some young and fit people are becoming seriously ill due to COVID-19, the director of the United States’ National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr Anthony Fauci, told NBA star Stephen Curry on Instagram Live Thursday.
The question-and-answer session lasted almost 30 minutes and was watched by around 50,000 viewers, including former President Barack Obama and pop star Justin Bieber.
Curry, who after feeling ill took a coronavirus test which turned out to be negative, said his intention in holding the interview with Fauci, who heads the medical team that works daily from the White House alongside President Donald Trump’s administration and is proving to be a popular counterweight to the president, was to provide as much information as possible to young people.
Many falsely believed that the virus only affected the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, but Fauci said that medical officials in the US have found that the virus is also attacking young and fit people.
“What we are starting to see is that there are some people who are younger, people your age – young, healthy, vigorous – who don’t have any underlying conditions who are getting seriously ill,” Fauci told the 32-year-old Golden State Warriors point guard.
“It’s still a very, very small minority, but it doesn’t mean that young people like yourself should say, ‘I’m completely exempt from any risk of getting seriously ill,’” he added.
Fauci said young people should be aware that they may unconsciously transmit the novel coronavirus to elderly and ill family members.
“We need to make that point,” Fauci said. “This is serious business. We are not overreacting.”
Curry asked him what the experts were looking at in order for there to eventually be sports events and mass gatherings held again without the risk of spreading the virus.
“You need to see the trajectory of the curve start to come down. We’ve seen that in China, they went up and down, they’re starting to get back to some normal life. They’ve got to be careful they don’t reintroduce the virus into China, but they’re on the other end of the curve,” said Fauci.
“Korea is doing that, they’re starting to come back down. Europe, particularly Italy, is in a terrible situation, they’re still going way up. The United States is a big country, we have so many different regions,” he added.
By midday Thursday, there were over 74,000 cases of coronavirus in the United States, with infections already exceeding China, and deaths exceeding 1,000. About half of the cases were in New York.
Fauci acknowledged that New York City was having a hard time trying to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but that there were other parts of the country where the situation was positive and different at the same time, which was the reason for the complexity of the situation.
“We can start thinking about getting back to some degree of normality when the country as a whole has turned that corner and started coming down. Then you can pinpoint cases much more easily than getting overwhelmed by cases, which is what’s going on in New York City,” said the director.
Both Curry and Fauci wanted to make clear that government officials, both locally and nationally, were not overreacting to the virus.
Curry later shared the session on his Twitter account.
“I wanted to make sure everyone had access to the conversation on COVID-19 with Dr. Fauci. Please share as much as possible. Thank you!” he said.