Story at a glance
- Anthony Fauci spoke to JAMA and answered questions about the nation's reaction to the coronavirus.
- He explained that while we are still learning about the virus, masks are among the best prevention.
With new coronavirus cases finally slowing in the Sun Belt but rising in the Midwest, the U.S. still has a long way to go in wrestling COVID-19 into a slower rate of transmission.
To mitigate the continued virus spread, Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases suggested that highly afflicted states may want to consider reimposing stricter lockdown protocols.
Speaking to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Fauci explained that states experiencing moderate upticks should pay attention to the percent of positive cases occurring in the state.
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“Prior to the surging, you can detect an early increase in the percent positive for any given state...it’s a good predictor of a surge,” he said.
This metric should then be used to gauge how the state should reopen. “The critical issue is when you see that, you’ve got to take a look at where you are in the process of trying to reopen,” Fauci advised. “You may need to pause, you may need to drop back a bit.”
Notably, Fauci did not say closing every business down is necessary, but using the familiar fundamental public health protocols to help blunt resurgences of the virus: consistent and correct wearing of masks, avoiding crowds and crowded places like bars, and physical distancing.
Outdoor environments tend to be safer due to the virus’s primary mode of transmission: aerosol droplets. Fauci spoke to theories surrounding the exact aerosolization of the virus. He noted that he thinks “that there is certainly a degree of aerosolization,” but stressed that more facts need to be uncovered. He said that he is working with particle physicists to better understand how long viral particles can stay in the air. Fauci confirmed that while common understanding is that regular particles greater than 5 micrometers will fall to the ground within 6 feet from the carrier, there are larger particles that can remain floating.
To help support the gap in knowledge regarding how COVID-19 spreads, he has one piece of advice: “You really better wear a mask.”
“It’s a touchy issue because you don’t want to get in a confrontation,” he acknowledged, referring to some of the violent instances that have occurred among people in public. “I think what we really need to do is as a nation, show a degree of consistency in doing that [wearing masks].”
“We are all in this together.”
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