Dr. Anthony Fauci at a press conference on Friday: "You have an individual responsibility to yourself, but you have a societal responsibility...We can either be part of the solution or part of the problem...the only way we're going to end it is by ending it together."
FAUCI: So what can we do? When I think upon talking to a lot of people and reflecting on it, we have such an unusual situation because of all of the decades that I've been involved in chasing infectious diseases I've never seen anything that is so protean and its ability to make people sick or not. There's no other infectious disease that goes from 40% of the people having no symptoms to some having mild symptoms to some having severe, some requiring staying at home for weeks, some going to the hospital, some getting intensive care, some getting intubated, some getting ventilated, and some dying.
So that depending on where you are in that spectrum, you have a different attitude to this particular thing. But anyone who gets infected or is at risk of getting infected to a greater or lesser degree is part of the dynamic process of the outbreak. And I know because I can understand when I was at a stage in my life when I said well, I'm invulnerable, so I'm going to take a risk.
I think what we are missing in this is something that we've never faced before is that a risk for you is not just isolated to you because if you get infected, you are part, innocently or inadvertently of propagating the dynamic process of a pandemic because the chances are that if you get infected that you're going to infect someone else. And although you may feel well and because we know if you look at the numbers that you'll probably hear later on, the overwhelming majority now of people getting infected are young people, likely the people that you see in the clips and in the paper who are out in crowds enjoying themselves, understandably. No blame there, understandably, but the thing that you really need to realize that when you do that, you are part of a process.
So if you get infected, you will infect someone else who clearly will infect someone else. We know that happens because the reproduction element of the virus is not less than one. So people are infecting other people. And then ultimately, you will infect someone who's vulnerable. Now, that may be somebody's grandmother, grandfather, uncle who's on chemotherapy and who's on radiation or chemotherapy or a child who has leukemia.
So there is what I call, and again, I just want to bring this out without making it seem that anybody is at fault, you have an individual responsibility to yourself but you have a societal responsibility because if we want to end this outbreak, really end it and then hopefully when a vaccine comes and puts the nail in the coffin, we've got to realize that we are part of the process. So when the vice president went back pulling back a couple of months ago, when we showed about the guidelines to safely reopen the country, we've got to make sure we drop back a few yards and think about that that this is part of a process that we can be either part of the solution or part of the problem.
So I just wanted to make a plea with people when they understand the stress that they're under because we try to tackle not only those states, but the light colored part of the country, even though they have done well, they may have gotten hit badly like New York and then came down or they may not have got hit badly at all, they are vulnerable.