- The Golden State Warriors’ Steph Curry interviewed Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on Instagram for almost 30 minutes about the novel coronavirus outbreak that’s continuing to hammer the US.
- The resulting chat about the virus — which has resulted in more than half a million cases around the world, infecting even UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, we learned on Friday — was informative and full of insights that TV news tends to gloss over in favor of more sensational angles.
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The push by public health officials to get their message out about the novel coronavirus outbreak is now turning to influencers and celebrities.
Almost 50,000 people swiped over to check out an Instagram live video chat Thursday between the Golden State Warriors’ Steph Curry and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The audience viewing the stream included everyone from members of the public to other celebs like singer Justin Bieber, the rapper Common, former President Barack Obama, and Curry’s former teammates like Andre Iguodala. And that was just the live version — an archived version of the chat on the NBA’s YouTube channel had picked up more than 51,000 views as of Friday morning, and Curry’s own YouTube channel has an archived version of the chat that’s been seen almost 200,000 times as of the time of this writing.
To anyone who’s followed the breathless coverage in the media, with especially cable news segments about the deadly virus packed with alarming updates and passionate talking heads, the chat provided something of a refreshing change. Curry asked insightful questions — the kind that members of the public would likely ask themselves — and Fauci answered them in the measured, precise fashion we’ve come to be familiar with from his press conference appearances.
Curry asked him, for example, about when we might be able to regain some semblance of normalcy in public life and return to spaces and events outside our homes like sports games. That won’t happen, Fauci stressed, until “the country as a whole is turning that corner.” Curry asked about young people, whom Fauci stressed aren’t as susceptible to the virus but noted that they should follow social distancing guidelines nevertheless because they could be asymptomatic carriers of the disease (and a small fraction of them actually still contract and suffer from the virus).
Fauci also cautioned that while warm weather tends to hamper the transmissibility of other viruses, the question is still up in the air about whether we’ll see that happen with the COVID-19 coronavirus or not. Likewise, he said we shouldn’t rush to open the country and economy back up to quickly, although he acknowledged that it doesn’t have to be all at once and can happen tentatively, and in stages — it’s “not an all or none process.” He was also hopeful, adding that he feels optimistic a vaccine can be developed ahead of the virus possibly coming back next winter.
“I appreciate your commitment to protecting the masses and bringing your expertise and knowledge on how this virus spreads and informing the people on how you should take this seriously,” Curry told Fauci at one point. “Thank you for your commitment.”