Dr. Anthony Fauci is the undisputed M.V.P of the national coronavirus response.
Even with years of infectious disease research under his belt, there are some things that simply can’t be known about our current pandemic.
SARS-CoV-2 is a sophisticated mutation. The characteristics it shares with previously studied coronaviruses are not consistent across communities. Viral load may play a role in this, but all of the aggravators have yet to be determined.
Until experts produce a conclusive etiology with respect to COVID-19, Dr. Fauci maintains that sheltering in place is the best preemptive measure for disproportionately affected populations.
In fact, he himself is self-isolating to reduce his risk of infection–despite shut-down easing initiatives. Fauci said in a media release that he spends most of his time at work in the White House and the rest at home. In other words, he has no intention of getting on a plane any time soon.
For the veteran director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, this also means avoiding outdoor dining for the time being.
There are certainly safe ways to eat out, but it also comes with variables we can’t always account for: namely other people. We’re talking disgruntled maskers, anti-maskers, restless, sneezy kids, etc.
“I am not going to restaurants right now,” he said in a recent interview with MarketWatch. “If you do decide to dine out, you should be cautious about where you sit and the space between yourself and others. Try as best as you can to have outdoor seating that is properly spaced between the tables. Indoors is much worse than outdoors.”
As shutdown easing progresses, risks have to be surveyed via a checklist of correlates. If you are elderly, immune-compromised, or are diabetic, suffer from heart disease or hypertension you might want to give yourself more than a few bars of error.
As a near octogenarian Fauci is avoiding dining, flying, and extensive traveling until effective COVID-19 therapeutics pass clinical trials.
“I am in a risk category. I don’t like to admit it, but I’m 79 years old. I can’t think of a reason to go trans-Atlantic, he added. “I’m just going to certainly continue doing my job. We’re in the middle of a crisis with regard to an epidemic, a pandemic, this is what I do, this is what I’ve been trained for my entire professional life, and I’ll continue to do it.”
A Covid-19 vaccine is often framed as the only thing standing between America and a suppressed growth curve when countries around the world have successfully contained their outbreaks with “three or four or five very simple tools that could have a major impact on turning around the outbreak.”
“Wearing a mask is definitely one of them, as is physical distancing, as is avoiding crowds, as is closing bars, as is washing your hands,” Fauci explains. “I’m pleading with people to consider doing this consistently because, you’re right, if half of the people don’t do it, it kind of negates the overall purpose.”