• Dr. Anthony Fauci recently sat down with actress and comedian Tiffany Haddish (virtually, of course), for an informal conversation about the COVID-19 pandemic that touched on topics including the coronavirus’ transmission.
  • It was an unusual interview for Dr. Fauci on multiple levels, one of which is that he wasn’t talking to a media industry figure this time but a celebrity who’s actually tested positive for the virus.
  • Among the interesting points in the interview is Dr. Fauci’s re-confirmation of how the virus can be transmitted by an infected person talking to someone in close proximity.

White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci has, as you can probably imagine, been a hot media commodity since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Every national media outlet under the sun has put in requests for some time with the doctor, who when he’s not juggling press appearances and working on the nation’s COVID-19 response also works as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

In between all of that, though, Dr. Fauci has also been carving out some time for a-typical interview requests. He’s sat for interviews distributed via Instagram Live, which included conversations between Fauci and celebrities like Steph Curry and Matthew McConaughey — stars with huge followings on social media that Dr. Fauci can capitalize on to get his message out. One of the newest examples of this came in recent days, when Dr. Fauci agreed to be interviewed by actress and comedian Tiffany Haddish, a conversation that touched on everything from the coronavirus’ transmission and how to prevent it to how a vaccine will help bring this pandemic to an end.

There are lots of moments of levity between the two, to the degree you don’t usually find in these conversations with Dr. Fauci (“Why do they put the thing so far up your nose? That’s just the worst”). Not that lightheartedness should matter in these encounters, because the content is the important part, but it does arguably help bring in a different kind of audience.

And speaking of the content, let’s zero in on one thing, in particular, that Haddish — who has revealed she’s tested positive for the coronavirus — and Dr. Fauci talked about: Coronavirus transmission, and the somewhat scary way the virus can be passed along and contracted if you’re not careful.

Basically, Fauci re-confirmed what we’ve already known and seen from events like churches where big groups of people have all contracted the virus together. “It’s a respiratory-borne virus,” Fauci said. “So, it is transmitted from one person to another — by very microscopic respiratory secretions. And this is important, that I think people don’t understand that certainly could be from coughing or sneezing, but it could even be from talking. Because what we’re seeing now — and singing even more than talking. And that’s the reason why you saw all those people in the church, in the choir who got infected. So the way you prevent that is by what we keep talking about is a mask and physical distancing. Because if you stay a certain distance away and avoid crowds, yeah.”

That’s one of the themes he repeated a few times during the half-hour interview (keep washing your hands, wear a face mask when you’re in public, and stay away from crowds). An interview that’s actually worth your time to watch in full, which you can do above.

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.