If there’s one thing we have learned over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, is that our knowledge about the highly infectious disease—ranging from symptoms to how it is spread—is constantly evolving. Therefore, it is crucial that all of us stay up-to-date on current research as well as the suggestions of health experts. In an interview with Jennifer Garner, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease doctor, stresses the importance of understanding exactly how the virus is spread—and who is able to spread it. He also touched upon other important information—including when you can take off your mask, whether or not you should wear a face shield, when we can expect to return to movie theaters, and of course, the five fundamentals for virus prevention. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had Coronavirus.
“The issue about children and infection has been unfortunately confusing because of a couple of things: unclear medical literature and people making statements that are absolutely incorrect,” Dr. Fauci explained. The biggest misconception? That children can’t be infected.
This “is not true” explains Dr. Fauci. “What is true is that children, when they do get infected, there’s a much less likely to have a serious outcome, namely less likely to be hospitalized, less likely to get seriously ill is the chance. Zero? Absolutely not. He points out that “we see that some children do get seriously ill, but at a much, much lower rate than adults.” The second biggest misconception is that children don’t carry the virus. He cites a South Korean study showing that children from 10 to 19 transmitted the virus to adults as easily as adults transmitted to adults. “The study said that children who are younger — from zero to 10 — didn’t really transmit it that well, yet there was a conflicting study that showed that very young children have a very high viral load in their nasopharynx. And since they have a very high viral load, you can make the reasonable assumption that they can transmit the virus. So even though we don’t know everything we need to know about children and transmission, we need to assume that A, they’re vulnerable and B, they can transmit.”
Not even Dr. Fauci wears a face mask all of the time—even when he is out in public. “Sometimes you look. You don’t see anybody for 200 feet, there’s no reason to have the mask over your face,” Fauci said. “What I usually do is I pull it down, and I enjoy the fresh air. When I pass someone or come into closer contact, I pull the mask up, and it’s really simple to do.”
Dr. Fauci discourages isolating your children completely. “You can traumatize a child really trying to make them be a hermit,” he said. “You’ve gotta be practical.” In general, he explains that the extent of their activities should be dependent on the infection rate in your area — in other words, your zone. He suggests low-contact sports, including tennis and golf, over high contact ones like football. However, he does not suggest keeping them inside of a bubble. “If you can, to the extent possible — and I know, I had three young kids years ago; It’s very difficult to keep them separated from each other — but if you want to have organized activities,” Fauci said, “try as best as you can to do things where they’re not falling all over each other, where they can have the social contact without necessarily breathing all over each other.”
“There are about five fundamental public health principles that, really, no matter where you are, you need to practice them, because I think if we did that uniformly throughout the country, we would not be in the situation we’re in right now,” said Dr. Fauci. “We have a very high baseline of infections. You look at the numbers and we’re averaging between 35 [thousand] and 45 thousand infections a day.” His five fundamentals? Wearing a mask “in a reasonable way,” physical distancing (“6-feet or more”), avoiding crowds, “namely congregations,” opting for outdoors over indoors, and practicing hand hygiene. “That seems rather simplistic, but if you look at the data of what happens when states, cities, and counties do that, it’s very clear that they can turn around the surging of infections that we’re seeing in several states,” said Dr. Fauci.
It depends on the face shield. If you put it along the head and underneath is open, then things that are aerosolized can get under in there. Unusual, But it’s possible. It’s unlike a mask which, essentially semi sealed.
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Just because you don’t show symptoms of COVID, doesn’t mean you aren’t infected. “About 40 to 45% of all of the people who are infected don’t have any symptoms at all. So that’s almost half of the millions of people who are infected, have no symptoms,” Fauci points out. More importantly, “about 50% of all the transmissions occur from an asymptomatic person to an uninfected person. So asymptomatic spread is critical.” This is what makes the universal wearing of masks so crucial. “Because if you don’t know that you are infected and you don’t know somebody else’s infected, you protect each other by wearing a mask.”
When will life go back to normal—more specifically, when can we resume going to the movies again? “Well, that’s something I really am craving and would like to do myself,” Fauci admitted when asked about it by Garner. “I think it’s going to be a combination of a vaccine that has been around for almost a year and good public health measures. I would think by the time we get to the end of 2021, it may be even the middle of 2021. I mean, if we get a vaccine, Jennifer, that’s a knockout vaccine, that’s 85, 90% effective—I don’t think we’ll get that, I’ll settle for 70% effective—but if we get a really good vaccine and just about everybody gets vaccinated, you’ll have a degree of immunity in the general community that I think you could walk into a theater without a mask and feel like it’s comfortable that you’re not going to be at risk.” As for yourself: To get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.