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Dr. Anthony Fauci: We want public health measures to be the gateway to opening the economy

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), discusses what goes into public communication decisions.

Video Transcript

ANTHONY FAUCI: I believe that public communication, when you're in the middle of as serious a situation as we are now with this historic pandemic, is absolutely essential. And you try to get to various segments of society. So I mean, I think you brought up a good point. I've done things where you appeal to children to try to get them to understand, without frightening them, the crisis that we're going through.

You also want to get to the people who are out in the front lines, who are putting themselves at risk. You also want to make sure that the health care providers appreciate, realize, how much we appreciate them and the risk that they're taking.

But you also have to get to another group that I think is a bit more problematic. The people who, for one reason or another, are getting the misinterpretation that public health measures are in conflict with a healthy society in the sense of economically. It's kind of pitting the economic interests against the health interests.

And I try and get a point-- the point across as often as I possibly can that we shouldn't look as public health measures as something that's an obstacle to the economy. It's a safe and prudent way to get the economy open again. We're not talking about shutting anything down.

Because often, when people hear you want to implement things like universal wearing of masks, physical distance, avoiding crowds-- that we're talking about the extreme of shutting society down. We absolutely are not talking about that. We want public health measures to be the gateway, or the roadway, to safely and prudently opening up the economy again.

So you could have both. You could have good public health measures, and you could still leave the economy open. But when you do extremes, when you say either shut down or do anything you want to do, it doesn't work that way. There's got to be a mean in the middle there where you can do both.