13 Tips From Dr. Fauci on How You Can Avoid Coronavirus

Behold: Dr. Fauci's best pieces of advice for keeping safe from COVID-19.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), has been one of the most trusted voices of reason during the coronavirus pandemic. In a recent poll published by The New York Times, at least two thirds of Americans expressed faith in his leadership throughout the COVID crisis. That's why, when Fauci offers advice on how to stay safe from coronavirus, the world would be wise to listen.

In fact, Fauci just recently suggested that as a country, it's time for us to hit the "reset button" on this pandemic, and redouble our efforts to flatten the curve. In that spirit, we've decided to revisit some of Fauci's best pieces of advice, all shared in recent interviews and press briefings, for how individuals can avoid coronavirus and help lower our country's skyrocketing case numbers. Read on for Fauci's best tips for staying safe, and slowing the coronavirus spread. And for more advice from the good doctor, check out Dr. Fauci Says That These Places Across the U.S. Need to Shut Down ASAP.

Avoid bars

People toasting in. bar

Fauci has been explicit in his advisory that people should stop frequenting bars. Not only do bars tend to be densely crowded, they're also often poorly ventilated—the perfect conditions for enabling superspreader events.

"We need to really take seriously the issue of wearing masks all the time and not congregating in bars," Fauci explained in a recent interview with InStyle. "I think we can stop that by just closing [bars] because they are certainly an important mechanism of this spread." In other words, just because bars in your area are open, it doesn't necessarily mean they're safe.

Wear a mask

Man outside wearing medical mask

On Friday, Fauci urged public officials to be "as forceful as possible" in regards to getting citizens to wear masks, CNN reports. "When you have crowds of people together and you have the lack of wearing a mask, that increases the risk of there being transmissibility. I have no doubt about that," he explained in an interview for CNBC's Halftime Report.

Though early on, Fauci advocated leaving masks to medical professionals, for the past several months he has been consistent in his messaging that mask-wearing is an essential line defense against the virus—and something we should all do every time we leave the house. And for more on masks, check out You Should Not Be Wearing One of These Instead of a Mask, CDC Warns.

Maintain social distance

Woman and child social distancing

Fauci has been very clear in stating the importance of social distancing in response to the pandemic. In an interview for ABC's Powerhouse Politics podcast, Fauci stated that the "best way that you can avoid either acquiring or transmitting infection is to avoid crowded places," in conjunction with wearing a mask.

Additionally, he recently told a Senate committee that new coronavirus cases "could go up to 100,000 a day" if people don't practice social distancing and consistent mask-wearing in public. In response to a question from Senator Elizabeth Warren about the cause for climbing case numbers, Fauci pointed to instances of large gatherings. "Look at some of the film clips you've seen, of people congregating, often without masks," he said. By avoiding these gatherings, you can keep yourself and others safe.

Be prepared for situations beyond your control

Coronavirus mask, sanitizer kit

Even with the best of intentions to practice safety measures, you may find yourself in situations that are beyond your control. That's why Fauci has suggested that people should be prepared to be in a crowd, even if they don't leave the house expecting one.

"It's become clear that even when you try to do with certain necessities of life—going out to get food, or going to a pharmacy to get medications—that you may inadvertently come into closer contact," he explained. For that reason, you should never leave the house without a mask and hand sanitizer. And for more great tips for staying safe, check out the 50 Essential COVID Safety Tips the CDC Wants You to Know.

Recognize your responsibility

Older woman and daughter wearing masks

Fauci hasn't been shy about calling on the American people to recognize their own role in the spread of coronavirus. Understanding that we can either be part of the solution or part of the problem is essential in keeping ourselves and others safe.

"You have an individual responsibility to yourself, but you [also] have a societal responsibility," Fauci explained during a recent White House coronavirus task force briefing. "We've got to realize that we are part of the process," he added. Seeing yourself as someone who can help or hinder the crisis will remind you to make safer choices.

Remember that asymptomatic people are contagious

Women with masks on, bumping elbows

For Fauci, the fact that asymptomatic people are contagious is one of the most troubling parts of the coronavirus outbreak. He has frequently expressed his belief that the prevalence of asymptomatic cases is why so many people neglect to take the virus seriously, and why it subsequently spreads so easily from one person to the next.

As Fauci explained in an interview for ABC Good Morning America, "25 percent [to] 45 percent of the totality of infected people likely are without symptoms, and we know from epidemiological studies that they can transmit to someone who is uninfected even when they are without symptoms." The key is to act as though everyone has it, and take the necessary precautions. And for more on asymptomatic carriers, check out 80 Percent of People in This Age Group Are Asymptomatic.

Get the vaccine when it's available

Boy getting vaccinated

After reviewing data from Phase One of coronavirus vaccine trials, Fauci declared the results "very good news." Yet a growing resistance to vaccines more generally, and skepticism about the speed at which the coronavirus vaccine is being developed, could mean that many Americans refuse to be vaccinated.

"It's understandable, but unjustified," Fauci said in response to the skepticism. "We're not compromising safety; we're not compromising scientific integrity." In an interview with CNN, he expressed concern that we would fail to reach herd immunity if enough people decided against getting the vaccine. Instead, Fauci advises that once it's available, we should all get vaccinated.

Get tested if you feel sick

Man getting coronavirus test from car

As far as Fauci is concerned, testing is a key part of the puzzle when it comes to slowing coronavirus. For that reason, he has advocated "flooding the system with testing, so you really get a good handle about what is going on in the community."

If you feel symptoms and suspect you might have COVID-19, get tested as soon as possible, and begin isolating even before getting your results. This will stop you from spreading it to your family members and others. And for more on coronavirus testing, check out The One Mistake You're Probably Making When it Comes to COVID Testing.

Trust respected medical professionals

Doctor's appointment

The pandemic has been widely politicized, and there's no doubt that the American people have suffered as a result. Fauci argues that for this reason, it's important to get your information from "respected medical authorities," and act in accordance with their guidelines.

"Republican, Democrat, anybody else, we are all in this together," Fauci said in a recent virtual forum at Georgetown University. "I believe for the most part you can trust respected medical authorities. I believe I'm one of them, so I think you can trust me … [and other experts] who have a track record of telling the truth." In other words, resist the urge to see the pandemic as a partisan issue, and focus on the facts from trusted medical professionals.

Take your underlying health conditions seriously

Woman talking to her doctor

If you have an underlying medical condition, Fauci has a message for you: take it seriously, and take extra precautions.

"This will be a recommendation," Fauci said in an interview on Meet the Press. "If you're a person with an underlying condition and you are particularly an elderly person with an underlying condition, you need to think twice about getting on a plane, on a long trip. And not only think twice. Just don't get on a cruise ship." If you have diabetes, hypertension, cancer, or any other co-morbidities, you should plan on exercising extreme caution until the pandemic is under control. And for more on underlying conditions that could be putting you at risk, check out These Conditions Increase Your Risk of Severe Illness From Coronavirus.

Expect progress to be gradual

Woman in mask holding "closed" sign

Our impatience has been a major hurdle in flattening the coronavirus curve, but according to Fauci, it's essential that we view progress as something that will come gradually—assuming we take proper precautions.

"We've got to have a delicate balance of carefully and prudently going towards normality," Fauci said on Friday, talking to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation in Washington. He has previously warned that having unrealistic expectations could lead people to get discouraged, but throwing up our hands and discontinuing necessary safety measures is simply not an option.

Only allow children to play in groups of 5 to 10

Small group of kids with masks

Fauci has encouraged people to be "realistic" about social distancing with children during these summer months. "A complete lockdown of children is going to be impossible as the summer months come," Fauci acknowledged. "I don't think it's going to be reasonable outside when kids are running around, playing baseball, that they're going to be wearing masks and staying [6 feet apart]."

That's why he advocates limiting group gatherings for children to between five and 10 at a time. This is a concrete way to limit potential spread, while still accounting for children's needs. And for more on keeping kids safe during the pandemic, check out 70 Percent of Doctors Say This is When They'll Send Their Kids Back to School.

Let your groceries sit for a day

Man bringing groceries home

Having a safe routine is key for avoiding coronavirus, and thankfully, Fauci recently shared an aspect of his own routine with reporters from The Washington Post. He explained that when he shops, he makes a point of letting his groceries sit untouched for a day or so before using them.

"I go shopping for groceries, or to drugstores," he began. "I don't disinfect the bags. In general, I will take the materials out of the bags, then wash my hands with soap and water, and then use Purell, and let everything sit for a day." Given that Fauci is the premier medical advisor in the country, this is one routine you'd be wise to emulate.

Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more