Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, sat down (virtually) with Peter Hamby, host of Snapchat original series Good Luck America, for an exclusive three-part interview.
Highlights from the conversation between Fauci and Hamby follow, courtesy of Snapchat’s Good Luck America.
On plans by Google and Apple to develop technology that uses location data from smartphones (opt-in) to trace the spread of Covid-19: “One of the sticky, sticky issues about that is that there is a lot of pushback in this country to get someone or some organization—particularly if it’s sponsored by the federal government, but I think they’d feel better about it if it’s private—to have by GPS somebody know where you were and when you were there, even though from a purely public health standpoint, that makes sense. You could look at somebody’s cell phone and say, ‘You were next to these 25 people over the past 24 hours.’ Boy, I gotta tell you, the civil liberties-type pushback on that would be considerable, even though from a pure public health standpoint, it absolutely makes sense.”
On travel between states: “We had no trouble when it became clear that there was a massive outbreak in China to essentially cut off an influx of people from China. When it became clear that Europe—particularly Italy, and then all of the European Union, and then the U.K.—was having the same problem, there was no problem in making the decision of cutting off. It becomes a little bit stickier where we have never really restricted travel intra the U.S.—that’s huge … But I don’t think you’re going to see, unless things really get bad, any federally-mandated restriction on travel.”
On the theory being spread around the internet that 5G towers are weakening people’s immune systems: “That’s thoroughly preposterous, untrue and actually ridiculous. Sorry. It’s a pretty simple answer. 5G doesn’t have any impact on the immune system. A lot of things do, but not that.”
On whether implementing mass testing and contact tracing is the responsibility of the federal government or individual states: “There is a misconception that that is a responsibility of the federal government. The best way to get things done locally is if they’re done and actually supervised locally. The federal government should serve as the backup—in other words, if a state is really strapped and doesn’t have the resources, or doesn’t have the tests to kind of purchase them in a way and get them to the local area. But once you have tests in the environment, in the community, it is always much better to get the state and local authorities in collaboration, for example, with the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), to go ahead and do the kind of testing that’s appropriate. To have the federal government be doing that, I think, would not be as efficient as good local implementation.”
Good Luck America was Snapchat’s first original series and, since its debut in 2016, has featured guests including former Vice President and current presidential candidate Joe Biden, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) former South Bend (Ind.) Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) former President Barack Obama, Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and entrepreneur and former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang.