• White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci shared some coronavirus tips in a new interview.
  • Behaviors that Dr. Fauci says he’s avoiding right now, along with an explanation of why, include flying in planes and eating indoors in restaurants.
  • That’s in large part because of his age (79), which puts him in the most vulnerable demographic associated with the worst impact of the coronavirus.

For all of us wondering when this is going to end, or when the coronavirus pandemic is finally going to at least let up to some degree, the start of a new week has, unfortunately, brought no real answers. As the national discussion continues, for example, about how and whether to safely reopen schools again, the county that encompasses my city of Memphis just announced that the fall semester would be all-virtual for our district’s 100,000 students. Moreover, the superintendent of our school system here called the prospect of responsibly reopening schools for in-person learning “largely a myth,” which is about as bleak an assessment of where things are in the coronavirus pandemic right now as you can give. Oh, and as if that wasn’t enough, it was also revealed on Monday that White House national security advisor Robert O’Brien has joined the several million Americans who’ve tested positive for the coronavirus, so — yeah, that’s encouraging.

MarketWatch recently caught up with White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci to ask for his latest thoughts on the coronavirus situation, including where things stand with the US response and what activities are safe or not to undertake right now.

No surprise, Fauci demurred when asked whether he’d be up for a flight in a plane right now, as well as the prospect of indoor dining in a restaurant. “I am in a risk category,” Fauci said, in response to the question about flights, and whether they’re safe or not. “I don’t like to admit it, but I’m 79 years old. I can’t think of a reason to go trans-Atlantic. Right now, I’m very sequestered … I don’t fancy seeing myself getting infected, which is a risk when you’re getting on a plane, particularly with the amount of infection that’s going on right now.”

This led to a follow-up with an interesting revelation from Dr. Fauci. While there’s been a lot of talk about the prospect of taking flyers’ temperatures before they step onto a plane and screening out people who present a fever, Fauci argues that preventative step is not “all it’s cracked up to be.” That’s because of the possibilities of false negatives and positives. He recommends, instead, just questioning people about whether they have symptoms, and if they’ve spent time around someone who’s infected.

Meantime, what about eating at restaurants? No-go, the doctor says.

“Indoors is much worse than outdoors,” Fauci said, before adding that he, himself, is not going to restaurants at all right now. “If you’re going to go to a restaurant, try as best as you can to have outdoor seating that is properly spaced between the tables.”

And here’s what Fauci thinks about reopening schools: “The fundamental default should be that we should try as best as we possibly can to open up the schools. But we have to remember, as a paramount consideration, the safety and the health of the children and teachers.”

These are among the kinds of common-sense behaviors we can both practice and avoid, Fauci says, in order to most quickly get the nation’s coronavirus spread under control. Even if the virus does continue to spread broadly around the US, though, Fauci doesn’t think some sort of broad national re-shutdown would be effective again — that it would be near impossible to get buy-in from the public on such a draconian measure that already damaged the economy for what’s likely to be years to come.

Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.