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Fauci: Young people have 'societal responsibility' to avoid COVID infection

Fauci: Young people have 'societal responsibility' to avoid COVID infection
© Bloomberg/Pool

Young people have an important role to play in stopping the spread of COVID-19 and protecting those at risk for serious illness, Dr. Anthony FauciAnthony FauciOvernight Health Care: Biden takes steps to boost number of vaccine doses sent to states | CDC researchers find 'little evidence' of major school outbreaks, with precautions | Eli Lilly says antibody combo significantly cuts COVID-19 death risk Biden takes steps to boost number of vaccine doses sent to states World surpasses 100M coronavirus cases MORE said Tuesday. 

Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, told Georgetown University students that a high number of infections are being confirmed in young adults, who are unlikely to become seriously ill from COVID-19 but can pass it to more vulnerable people if they don't wear masks or practice social distancing. 

“What they need to understand is that given the nature of this outbreak even if you get infected and have no symptoms at all, and never gets you sick, you are inadvertently propagating the pandemic,” Fauci said during a live-streamed Q&A with Georgetown students and faculty. 

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Fauci said he is not blaming anyone and believes people are innocently becoming part of the problem. 

“It may not matter to you because you're probably not going to get any symptoms, but the chances are you're going to infect someone who then will infect someone who then will be a vulnerable person who could get sick, who could get hospitalized, who could even die. So, not only [are] you propagating the outbreak, but you're actually putting other people in danger.”

He suggested a link between ongoing large outbreaks in California, Florida, Arizona and Texas and the reopenings of businesses there, including bars and other indoor areas where young people had been congregating. 

All four states have since ordered bar closures.

"Think about your societal responsibility. And that's what I mean when I say we're all in this together. Everybody has a place and a role in getting this outbreak under control," Fauci said. 

"And you're not caring whether you get infected or not is not a good way to get the outbreak under control. To get it under control means you don't let yourself get infected and you don't spread to anybody else."

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There are more than 3.4 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., including 136,000 deaths. 

Dozens of states are seeing an increase in cases, which Fauci said is not solely a result of increased testing, as President TrumpDonald TrumpBlinken holds first calls as Biden's secretary of State Senators discussing Trump censure resolution Dobbs: Republicans lost in 2020 because they 'forgot who was the true leader' MORE says. 

“Unequivocally you're seeing truly more new cases. In addition, we're seeing now more hospitalizations,” Fauci said.