COVID-19 affects young, fit people too: Top US scientist

Source : IANS
Author : IANS
Last Updated: Fri, Mar 27th, 2020, 10:54:55hrs

Washington, March 27 (IANS) Some young and fit people were also becoming seriously ill due to novel coronavirus, Anthony Fauci, the top infectious diseases scientist on the White House COVID-19 task force, told NBA star Stephen Curry on Instagram Live.

The question-and-answer session on Thursday lasted almost 30 minutes and was watched by around 50,000 viewers, including former US President Barack Obama and pop star Justin Bieber, reports Efe news.

Curry, who after feeling ill took a coronavirus test which turned out to be negative, said his intention in holding the interview with Fauci was to provide as much information as possible to young people.

Many falsely believed that the virus only affected the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, but Fauci said that medical officials in the US have found that the virus is also attacking young and fit people.

"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 told the 32-year-old Golden State Warriors point guard.

"It's still a very, very small minority, but it doesn't mean that young people like yourself should say, 'I'm completely exempt from any risk of getting seriously ill'," he added.

Fauci said young people should be aware that they may unconsciously transmit the novel coronavirus to elderly and ill family members.

"We need to make that point," Fauci said. "This is serious business. We are not overreacting."

Curry asked him what the experts were looking at in order for there to eventually be sports events and mass gatherings held again without the risk of spreading the virus.

"You need to see the trajectory of the curve start to come down. We've seen that in China, they went up and down, they're starting to get back to some normal life. They've got to be careful they don't reintroduce the virus into China, but they're on the other end of the curve," said Fauci.

"Korea is doing that, they're starting to come back down. Europe, particularly Italy, is in a terrible situation, they're still going way up. The US is a big country, we have so many different regions," he added.

In a grim milestone, the US on Thursday surpassed China, where the virus originated last December, in terms of confirmed cases.

According to the latest updates by the John Hopkins University, the US has a total of 85,505 cases, while China has 81,782. The overall death toll in the US currently stands at 1,290.

Fauci acknowledged that New York City was having a hard time trying to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but that there were other parts of the country where the situation was positive and different at the same time, which was the reason for the complexity of the situation.

"We can start thinking about getting back to some degree of normality when the country as a whole has turned that corner and started coming down. Then you can pinpoint cases much more easily than getting overwhelmed by cases, which is what's going on in New York City," he said.

Both Curry and Fauci wanted to make clear that government officials, both locally and nationally, were not overreacting to the virus.