Trevor Noah landed the first late-night TV interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and face of the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking from separate locations Thursday on Noah’s The Social Distancing Show, Fauci called the virus “insidious” and stressed the importance of continuing social distancing and frequent hand washing. “It’s a respiratory-born illness that easily spreads from person-to-person but that has a high degree of morbidity and mortality,” he said. “And unfortunately that’s the worst nightmare you could have, to have something like that.” He noted the mortality rate is about ten times that of the seasonal flu. “It’s a disease that not only is easily spread, but can be devastating particularly for a certain subset of the population…the elderly, those with underlying conditions.”
Fari also addressed, without mentioning President Trump by name, two issues that have been pushed recently by the president, the malaria drug chloroquine, which Trump has promoted as a possible coronavirus treatements, and a plan to possibly send people back to work to get the economy moving again within the next couple of weeks.
Fauci said currently there’s “no proven safe and effective, direct therapy for coronavirus disease,” and that there’s only anecdotal evidence that drugs like chloroquine work, but he noted that there are ongoing trials to find a treatment and cure.
And, as Fauci has said before, it is the virus that sets the timeline. “People say, arbitrarily, in two weeks we’re going to be OK, but it depends upon the kinetics of the outbreak,” Fauci said, adding, “In general, if you look historically at the countries that have been through the whole cycle, in China it was about eight weeks or so before it went way up and then way down.”
Noah also asked Fauci to address the mistaken belief that young people are immune to coronavirus.
“Even though you are young, you are not absolutely invulnerable,” Fauci said, noting that many young people who have gotten sick and are dying from the disease did not have underlying illnesses.
The interview concluded with Fauci noting how best the federal government and local and state governments can work together. “The federal government is a facilitator, it’s a supplier, it’s a supporter and that’s the way things should be going, and that’s what we’re starting to see now as we’re catching up on things that weren’t done so well at the beginning… It really is a marriage between the federal government as the facilitator and supporter of where the real action is, at the state and local level,” he said.
You can watch the entire interview above.