The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, testifies before hearing the US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Work and Pensions to investigate COVID-19, "focusing on lessons learned to prepare for the next pandemic," Hill in Washington, DC on December 23. June 2020.
Kevin Dietsch | Pool | AFP | Getty Images
The White House Coronavirus Advisor, Dr. Anthony Fauci, calling on young Americans not to take the coronavirus lightly, said that this could spread the pandemic.
"You have to be responsible for yourself, but social responsibility for being infected is not just yours in the vacuum. You are spreading the pandemic," Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in an interview on Thursday evening.
Fauci's comment came when government health officials said more young people are ignoring social distance measures and are more likely to become infected with the virus. According to Fauci, the average age of a new Covid 19 patient has decreased by 15 years since the pandemic started in the United States.
Vice President Mike Pence warned last month that about half of the new cases in the United States are people under the age of 35, particularly in Florida and Texas.
Fauci said that young people in bars who enjoy themselves are "completely understandable". However, he warned that asymptomatic adolescents who never develop symptoms can pass the virus on to others.
"I understand that," he said on Thursday. "I was there at some point in my life. Or see people in bulk and say well, they think they don't do anything that is particularly harmful, but they could be."
Fauci had warned last month that doctors and infectious disease specialists are seeing "more and more" complications with Covid-19 in young people.
At the beginning of the outbreak in the United States, researchers said the virus appears to be gentle on young people, while it is particularly serious for older people and people with underlying health conditions.
That is not the case, Fauci said during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on June 23. "It is not true to believe that young people have no harmful consequences. We are seeing more and more complications in young people."
Fauci said he had never seen a single virus have so many symptoms.
Some people have no symptoms, while "some get mild symptoms and other symptoms enough to leave them at home for a few days. Some lie in bed for weeks and have symptoms even after recovering, others go to the hospital, others need oxygen, some need intensive care, some are intubated and some die, "he said.
Fauci was appointed director of NIAID in 1984 and has worked under six US presidents.
In recent days, President Donald Trump and other government officials have criticized Fauci's response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Despite the criticism, Fauci told The Atlantic magazine that he hadn't thought of resigning. "I think the problem is too important for me to get into such thoughts and discussions," he said, according to an edited transcript of the interview. "I just want to do my job. I'm really good at it. I think I can contribute. And I'll keep doing it."