Watch Dr. Fauci Eerily Predict the Coronavirus Pandemic in 2016
In 2016, Fauci was asked what keeps him up at night. His response is our current reality with COVID-19.
Anthony Fauci, MD, has in many ways become the face of the nation's public health amid the coronavirus pandemic. The key member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force and the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has been providing the latest information and answering Americans' burning questions about COVID-19 since the virus hit the U.S. But despite his calm responses at press conferences, Fauci is living his greatest nightmare. During an interview with BuzzFeed News in 2016, Fauci was asked what keeps him up at night regarding public health risks. His response so eerily described what we are currently battling with the COVID-19 outbreak of the past few months.
During the May 2016 interview, then-Science Editor, now Deputy Editor-in-Chief Virginia Hughes asked Fauci, "What actually keeps you up at night? What should we actually be worried about?" His response? "From the standpoint of broad global impact … a respiratory disease like influenza, that's easily spread and highly lethal."
Watch Fauci's coronavirus prediction here:
During the interview, when he was a much lesser-known public figure, Fauci described his biggest concerns regarding a looming pandemic. After first explaining how the Ebola virus outbreak was scary but "never, ever, ever, ever" a serious threat for the population for the United States, Fauci said that "a respiratory disease like influenza, that's easily spread and highly lethal" is what most concerns him.
He then put the term "highly lethal" in perspective, referencing the 1 to 2 percent mortality rate of the Spanish Flu pandemic from a century ago. "So if you get an infection that's 10 percent lethal, it's a total global catastrophe," Fauci warned. "So that's the thing that I am concerned about is something that has dual characteristic of being easily spread with no background immunity … [and] at the same time, [is] highly lethal."
"If you get an influenza that's so new that none of us have any experience with it, then you got a problem if it's highly lethal," he added. "The things that keep me up worrying about perception is the misinformation and the inability to calculate relative risk. … The fear that Ebola generated [in the U.S.] was amazingly out of proportion to what the reality was."
Of course, misinformation has been a major issue in the case of the coronavirus, but some would argue it's created the opposite problem that Fauci described with Ebola.
As far as the coronavirus mortality rate, numbers have evolved dramatically as medical and public health experts have learned more about the deadly contagion. Early warnings of a 2 to even 5 percent mortality rate have dipped to far lower numbers. Still, the similarities between the current situation and what Fauci described in 2016 are giving many people goosebumps.
Watch the full interview here (the prediction portion is at the 18-minute mark):
And for more coronavirus fact versus fiction, check out 13 Actual Facts That Debunk Common Coronavirus Myths.