President Donald Trump is the most visible public figure to be infected with COVID-19 thus far in the pandemic. However, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert and key member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, warns that using his experience and rapid recovery from the virus — that has killed over 215,000 Americans in just 8 months — could prove to be a deadly mistake. Read on, and also don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
COVID-19 is Not Always a 'Benign Disease'
During an interview with STAT, Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases explained that the President's rapid recovery and seemingly mild infection is not a good representation of the virus.
"We're all glad that the President of the United States did not suffer any significant consequences of it," Fauci said. "But … because he is such a visible figure, it amplifies some of that misunderstanding that people have that it's a benign disease and nobody has anything to worry about."
Due to the fact that the virus impacts different people in varying ways—some experience zero symptoms, others end up hooked up to a respirator fighting for their lives, while others, dubbed "long haulers," often suffer a mild infection followed by months on end of scary symptoms—it is dangerous to use one person's experience as an example.
"It's just a lot of understandable mixed signals, that it's either serious or it's not serious. It's deadly or it's not deadly. To me, that's been the bane of trying to get a message across to people," he said. "It's a problem that goes well beyond the president's illness."
"Wear a Mask, Avoid Crowds"
After announcing his infection less than two weeks ago, Trump received prompt medical attention, including being hospitalized, administered multiple drugs (an experimental antibody cocktail, the antiviral drug remdesivir, and the steroid dexamethasone) and even supplemental oxygen. While these treatments likely aided in his rapid recovery, he has been downplaying the severity of the illness in general.
Fauci added that he has been attempting to educate people—primarily younger adults—that the virus can not only threaten their life, but the lives of others.
"It's just something that I've been struggling with for some time in messaging, when you try to get to young people and you tell them 'Wear a mask, avoid crowds.' And they say, 'Well, what's the difference if I get infected? The overwhelming likelihood is that I'm not going to get seriously impacted. So, who cares?'" he said.
"And what they don't grasp is that by getting infected, they're propagating the outbreak," he continued. And by propagating the outbreak sooner or later a vulnerable person is going to get infected. It is a big deal." As for yourself, to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.