Dr. Anthony Fauci is begging Americans to follow coronavirus safety precautions more closely, explaining that the person taking risks may not be the one to suffer the consequences. In a press briefing on Friday, Fauci and other public health experts issued a plea to citizens to follow the guidelines and limit their risk as much as possible. They specifically addressed younger people.
"The overwhelming majority now of people getting infected are young people, likely the people that you see in the clips in the paper or out in crowds enjoying themselves," Fauci said in the briefing, according to a report by CBS News. The 79-year-old epidemiologist said that he remembers feeling "invulnerable" when he was young too. Rather than worrying about their own health, Fauci appealed to young peoples' concern for their fellow Americans, saying: "if you get infected, you will infect someone else, who clearly will infect someone else."
"Ultimately, you will infect someone who's vulnerable," Fauci went on. "That may be somebody's grandmother or grandfather, uncle who's on chemotherapy and who's on radiation or chemotherapy, or a child who has leukemia."
Fauci stressed the fact that people who feel healthy can be asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19 for weeks at a time, infecting everyone they come into contact with without knowing it. The only way to ensure that the disease does not spread is for everyone — regardless of how sick they do or do not feel — to limit contact with others as much as possible and wear masks, gloves, eyewear and other protective equipment when they do need to go out.
Fauci's renewed plea comes amid rising new coronavirus cases in areas around the U.S. — particularly places where public spaces and businesses have attempted to re-open. In many of these states, the spread reportedly comes especially from adults between the ages of 20 and 44 years old. In Arizona, this group accounts for half of all new cases, while in Florida, the median age of someone testing positive for COVID-19 is reportedly now 35 years old.
"I also want to appeal to the millennials and those that are under 40," said CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield. "It's really important that this group really commit themselves to these practices to protect those at risk... And it's not just the elderly that are at risk. Many of us may have friends and colleagues that are younger that may not advertise their underlying co-morbidities."