Like many people working from home these days, Curry initially had a few technical difficulties with the video chat. Then he and Fauci shared a chuckle about the portable basketball hoop in Fauci’s office. Then Curry slid into interview mode.
The pair covered basic questions about the novel coronavirus pandemic, plainly discussing everything from how covid-19 is different from the flu to how experts are determining when large gatherings can resume.
After Fauci answered a question about how important it is for young people to practice social distancing even if they feel healthy, Curry explained why he wanted to speak with the 79-year-old expert, who is among those leading the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic. Fauci, in addition to his regular appearances at White House press briefings, has been making the rounds lately. Last week he appeared on “Pardon My Take,” a popular Barstool Sports podcast.
“That’s really one of the reasons that I wanted to have this Q&A, to hopefully reach a different demographic or people that are interested in the facts of what’s going on,” Curry said. “You see all the different visuals of people at the beach and parks, crazy public gatherings, and not really adhering to that social distancing concept.”
A good portion of the chat seemed aimed at convincing viewers to take social distancing and shelter-in-place measures seriously.
Curry asked Fauci about the risk of lifting such measures too early, even for the sake of allowing business to reopen.
“Well, Steph, it is not an all-or-none process,” Fauci said. “I mean, when you’re locking down, the way [Gov. Gavin Newsom (D)] did in California and the way [Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D)] is doing in New York City, that’s the extreme. That’s the heavy hammer on something. Even if you lessen those restrictions, everybody until this is over should practice some degree of physical distancing and care. No big crowds, wash your hands a lot, be careful. You can do that and still get back to somewhat of a normal life.”
Curry countered, “We’re not overreacting, right?”
“You’re absolutely right,” Fauci said. “We need to make that point. This is serious business. We are not overreacting."
Fauci ended the chat, which will be available on Curry’s Instagram page for repeat viewings, with a plea to the country.
“We modified our lives. It’s not convenient to lock yourself in. It’s not convenient to not do the kinds of things — it’s not convenient for you not to be playing basketball,” Fauci said. “But we’re going through a period of time now where we’ve got to, as a country, pull together. Don’t get frightened. Don’t get intimidated. Use the energy to be able to confront it and do the kinds of things that’ll put an end to it.
“I want to get rid of that misconception that there’s extremes, either the world is going to end or we don’t want to do anything. It isn’t that. It’s somewhere in the middle.”