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Dr. Fauci Explains When Sports Could Return In Coronavirus Q&A With Stephen Curry

Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors stands on the court during their game against the LA Clippers at Chase Center on October 24, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – One of the challenging aspects of this adjustment to new life during the Coronavirus pandemic has been sorting through all the information thrown around and deciphering what’s right and what’s inaccurate. Social media has tendencies to push false information that leaves people wondering what’s true and what’s a lie.

That’s why it is wise to turn to people who have accurate and scientific info. Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., is the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) is one of those individuals.

On Thursday, Dr. Fauci joined Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry on Instagram for a Q&A that would help dispel some of the myths behind the novel Coronavirus pandemic.

Curry took questions from Instagram users that included former President Barack Obama, pop star Justin Bieber, and NBA players.

Here are some of the highlights from the Q&A session where Dr. Fauci was answering questions posed to him from Curry.

When will live sporting events and large gatherings not be a threat to spreading the Coronavirus?

Nearly every major sporting event between now and the start of the college football season has either been canceled or postponed, including the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo. It has been more than two weeks since the NBA postponed the season. When could we see live sporting events back on the calendar again?

“What you need is to see the trajectory of the curve start to come down,” Dr. Fauci said. “We’ve seen that in China, they went up and down, they’ve started to get back to some more normal life. They’ve got to be careful that they don’t reintroduce the virus into China. But they’re on the other end of the curve Korea is doing that they’re starting to come back down. Europe, particularly Italy, is in a terrible situation, they’re still going way up. The United States is a big county. We have so many different regions like New York City right now is having a terrible time. And yet there are places in the country that are doing really quite well.

So in direct answer to your question, we could start thinking about getting back to some degree of normality when the country as a whole has turned that corner and starts coming down. Then you can pinpoint cases much more easily than getting overwhelmed by cases which was going on in New York City.”

How is the Coronavirus different from the flu in how it interacts with the body and spreads?

“It’s similar in some respects in that it’s a respiratory illness that’s transmitted by the respiratory root. It gives a degree of pathology that’s mostly pneumonia. The reason it’s different is that it’s very, very much more transmissible than flu. And more importantly, it’s significantly more serious,” said Dr. Fauci.

“Some quick numbers, the mortality of seasonal flu that you and I confront every year is about 0.1%. The overall mortality of coronavirus is about 1%. Sometimes, like in China, it was up to two to 3% which means it’s at least 10 times more serious than typical influenza. So when people kind of compare it, in some respects, it has some similarities, but it’s really, really different its degree of seriousness.”

Can you get reinfected by Coronavirus a second time?

“We haven’t done the specific testing to determine that. But if this acts like every virus, similar to what we know, the chances are overwhelming that if you get infected, recover from infection, that you are not going to get infected with the same virus,” said Dr. Fauci.

“Which means you can then safely go out into the community and feel immune so that you can not only protect yourself, get back to work, get back to your job, but you’ll be able to have what you refer to as herd immunity. Enough people who’ve recovered in the community that gives the virus very little chance to spread rapidly. That’s what is referred to as herd community.”

Any truth to warmer weather diminishing the ability for the Coronavirus to spread?

“With other viruses like seasonal influenza that we get confronted with every year, and other Coronaviruses that are more benign, typically common cold, what you said is true. As the weather gets warmer, viruses tend to do poorly, in warm, moist weather and do quite well in cold dry weather. And that’s one of the reasons why, in addition to the fact that in the warm weather, you’re more outside and not confined in a room, that these kinds of respiratory viruses tend to go down as you get into the summer months.

“We don’t know whether this is going to happen with this virus because this is the first time we’ve ever dealt with this virus. So it’s not an unreasonable assumption, to think that it’s going to go down, but you don’t want to count on it.”

What’s the biggest piece of misinformation out there regarding the Coronavirus?

“This dichotomy between people who are frightened to death of it versus people who don’t even believe and think it’s something trivial that you don’t have to worry about. I’d like to get the people in the country to realize that we are dealing with a serious problem. It’s something that we’ve modified our lives. It’s not convenient to lock yourself in … but we’re going through a period of time now, where we’ve got to as a country, pull together, don’t get frightened, don’t get intimidated, use the energy to be able to confront it and do the kinds of things that will put an end to it. So I want to get rid of that misconception that there are extremes. Either the world is going to end or we don’t want to do anything. It isn’t that. It’s somewhere in the middle.”

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Coronavirus Resources

How Do I Prevent It?

The CDC has some simple recommendations, most of which are the same for preventing other respiratory illnesses or the flu:

  • Avoid close contact with people who may be sick
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

The CDC does not recommend wearing a face mask respirator to protect yourself from coronavirus unless a healthcare professional recommends it.

How To Get Help

If you’re worried you may have COVID-19, you can contact the Utah Coronavirus Information Line at 1-800-456-7707 to speak to trained healthcare professionals. You can also use telehealth services through your healthcare providers.

Additional Resources

If you see evidence of PRICE GOUGING, the Utah Attorney General’s Office wants you to report it. Common items in question include toilet paper, water, hand sanitizer, certain household cleaners, and even cold medicine and baby formula. Authorities are asking anyone who sees price gouging to report it to the Utah Division of Consumer Protection at 801-530-6601 or 800-721-7233. The division can also be reached by email at consumerprotection@utah.gov.

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