While much discussion has surrounded the possibility of achieving herd immunity in the fight against COVID-19, White House coronavirus task force adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci recently advised against pursuing such a risky path.
As reported by the New York Post, the infectious disease expert warned that it would be a deadly undertaking to attempt to reach the point at which a large enough portion of the population has recovered from the virus to prevent its continued spread.
“A lot of people are going to die”
Fauci’s remarks came during a recent Instagram interview with actor Matthew McConaughey.
“If everyone contracted it, even with the relatively high percentage of people without symptoms … a lot of people are going to die,” Fauci said on Thursday.
The longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infection Diseases cited the prevalence of underlying health conditions among the American population as a serious issue.
“With the number of people with hypertension,” he said. “With the number of people with diabetes. If everyone got infected, the death toll would be enormous and totally unacceptable.”
Fauci went on to caution critics of his advice that they “can’t run away” from the facts, including “the numbers of people who’ve died, the number of people getting hospitalized, the surges we’re seeing.”
“Part of the problem rather than the solution”
McConaughey addressed a number of other coronavirus-related issues with his guest, including an inquiry regarding the veracity of reports that he had “millions of dollars invested in a vaccine.” The suggestion drew a laugh from Fauci, who flatly denied any such allegation.
“Matthew, no,” he said. “I got zero! I’m a government worker. I have a government salary.”
As MarketWatch reported, Fauci went on to encourage Americans to put politics aside as part of a unified approach, denouncing those who “are part of the problem rather than the solution” in the nation’s effort to defeat the coronavirus.
“Our country has been through very, very difficult situations,” he said. “We’ve been through a Depression, we’ve been through a World War. We pulled together through 9/11.”
As too many elected officials seem to prove, such a unified approach is easier said than done.