Some young and healthy people in the United States who have contracted the new coronavirus are becoming seriously ill, the top U.S. official on infectious diseases, Anthony Fauci, told NBA star Stephen Curry in an live interview posted on social media on Thursday.
Many teens and young adults falsely believe that the virus, which has killed more than 1,000 people in the United States, is only a threat to the elderly and those with underlying health conditions. However, Fauci debunked that myth during the live interview and urged all age groups to take the spread of the virus very seriously.
“What we are starting to see is that there are some people who are younger, people your age – young, healthy, vigorous – who don’t have any underlying conditions who are getting seriously ill,” Fauci said.
With videos of teens jokingly coughing or breathing on food in grocery stores being posted online, Curry stressed that young people need to adhere to social distancing. It is by following these steps designed to slow the spread of the virus that will protect themselves and prevent other, more vulnerable people, from contracting the virus.
“You need to protect yourself because you are not completely exempt from serious illness. And, you can become the vector, or the carrier of infection, where you get infected, you feel well and then you inadvertently and innocently pass it on to your grandfather, your grandmother or an uncle who is on chemotherapy for cancer. That’s what we’ve got to be careful for,” Curry said.
The Centers for Disease Control on Thursday said that 38% of U.S. coronavirus patients sick enough to be hospitalized were between the ages of 20 and 54. This a stark contrast to the earlier hospitalization numbers that appeared when the virus first spread to the United States just some 5 weeks ago.
In what seems an instant, the pandemic has upended everyday life in much of the United States and brought nearly all professional sports leagues, including the NBA, to a complete halt.
Asked when leagues may be able to return to action, Fauci said it will depend on how quickly the United States can slow the rate of infection.
“We can start thinking about getting back to some degree of normality when the country as a whole has turned that corner.” But, when exactly life would return to ‘normal’, especially if people continue to ignore social distancing guidelines, is hard to say.