Fauci testifying before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on June 30. Photo: Al Drago/AFP via Getty Images
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview with WebMD's chief medical officer on Saturday that young people are driving the uptick in coronavirus cases by "not caring" whether they get infected.
Why it matters: Fauci said the biggest age group currently reporting new infections is at least 15 years younger than the major demographic that contracted the virus a few months ago.
What he's saying: "[Young people are] not going to get very sick. They know that," Fauci said.
- "So what I think is happening is that, understandably, innocently, but not correctly, the younger individuals are saying, well, if I get infected, so the chances of it is that I won't even have any symptoms, so who cares? That's a big mistake."
- "Because by allowing yourself to getting infected or not caring if you do get infected, you are propagating a pandemic. Because it doesn't end with you. You get infected and have no symptoms. The chances are you're going to infect someone else, who will then infect someone else."
- "And then someone who's vulnerable to severe consequences will get infected. That could be [somebody's] father, mother, or grandmother. It could be a sick child who's an immunodeficient child. It could be a woman who's on chemotherapy for breast cancer."
- "Then all of a sudden, you're not operating in a vacuum. You're part of the problem as opposed to being part of the solution."
Fauci stood by his June warning that the U.S. may start reporting as many as 100,000 new coronavirus cases per day if it doesn't get the virus under control.
- "I think we can turn this around. But when I said I was concerned that we might be heading towards 100,000 per day ... didn't want to, you know, inappropriately scare anybody."
- "But if you just take a look at what's actually happened, at that time, we went from 20 to 30, and then we doubled it. We went to [40,000], and then 50, 60, and now we're at 70."