Today in our bizarre new reality, NBA star Stephen Curry interviewed Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, about the novel coronavirus live on Instagram, because why not? Here’s a brief summary from their exchange. (Fun fact: Fauci has a mini hoop in his office.)
Stephen Curry: The question on everyone’s mind is when can we go back to normal?
Dr. Anthony Fauci: We need the trajectory of the curve to start to come down. China has started to do this now, but you need to be careful not to reintroduce the virus. In the U.S., especially in places like New York, we’re not there yet. We can think about returning to some degree of normality when the country as a whole has turned a corner and started to come down. Then we can pinpoint individual cases rather than be overwhelmed.
Is the virus seasonal?
Many viruses are seasonal, so it’s not an unreasonable assumption. Viruses prefer cold, dry climates to warm humid ones. But we can’t count on that. We just don’t know for sure yet. So, social distancing is still the best chance to fight the virus.
Later, Fauci says he thinks this virus will be cyclical and is likely to come back in the winter.
We appear to be past the point of it just disappearing. Vaccines — currently under development and anticipated in 12 to 18 months — will be very important for the next time around to make sure we can control the virus much faster and avoid mass outbreaks.
Give us the straight talk on masks. Do you need one out in public?
We have more supply now than a week ago, but we still need more. We need to prioritize doctors and nurses getting them first, because the worst-case scenario is the virus infects and wipes out our health care workers. In a perfect world, you can wear one walking around and get some degree of protection, although not 100%, but right now we need to prioritize.
What’s the biggest piece of misinformation you’d like to correct?
The dichotomy between people frightened to death and people who don’t believe it. People need to realize we’re dealing with a serious problem. While it’s not convenient to lock ourselves in and for Steph to not be playing basketball right now, we’re going through a period of time where we’ve got to pull together. Don’t get frightened. Don’t get intimidated. Use your energy to fight it.