What the nations leading infectious disease expert says

From earlier this afternoon.

Anthony Fauci interviewed by Mark Zuckerberg


I don’t have it in me to listen for an hour. :crazy_face:

What was the takeway?

It’s worth the listen so I hope everyone can take the time to hear it all…so that they don’t get cherry-picked sound bites from news networks.

But honestly…it’s a lot of what a large majority of the country (and the world) already knows…

I am just hoping they don’t start saying a cure is 5 years away. Because we know what “5 years” means…


Anthony Fauci is definitely not one of the “false hope” kind of guys. He lays it out, bare facts, and doesn’t try to paint a rosy picture - whether people like it or not (which is why he’s bashed so much recently). And no, he never gives dates…he always says the science will guide our response and direction. But they do discuss some promising candidates.

My wife getting it twice within about 5 months was pretty bad news in the context of realizing that a person may not be able to get full immunity.

On the plus side, the 2nd time was much easier for her. So there might be some partial immunity.

But at this point it seems that any vaccine would need to be given repeatedly.


The one that was discussed in this video is a two-shot regiment and even then, they still don’t know if it works (they did begin creating the kind of responsive antibodies that they were hoping to see) – it’s just now going to phase 2 (larger audience), and IF it works, whether it’s like the mumps/measils or whether it’s like the vaccine for the flu which is administered annually. Still a lot of unknowns but I’m glad we have people who are still working on facts and heading the direction that science takes them. I’m thankful every day for those undeterred scientists and doctors who are getting it from all directions these days.

There is an Oxford candidate that confers short term immunity via the antibody pathway and long term immunity via t-cell changes. So there is hope that we will eventually have a reasonably long lived vaccine. Even better AstraZeneca has signed on to create 2 billion doses and sell it on a not for profit model. Fingers crossed the 10,000 person study goes well.

The news media here is reporting that there are about 130 vaccine candidates being worked on worldwide. So it’s likely that at least some of those will be at least somewhat effective. However, they’ve also said that the soonest a vaccine is likely to be available is 2021, and that is assuming everything with all the trials goes perfectly. They are really not wanting to rush things here and are emphasizing safety over speed.

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I think you are putting way too much faith in the assumption that the first one was COVID. In February, the chances of being infected by COVID in the US were really, really low (maybe 1 in a million). None of the COVID symptoms are specific to COVID. In fact, impaired taste is fairly common for a number of respiratory illnesses, including common cold and flu. We’ll never know for sure, but I’d say the first one was not COVID; the second was COVID, as confirmed by the test, fortunately in a very mild form (which isn’t uncommon either). By now, if double COVID infection within months were anything even close to common, we would have known about that. A few potential such cases have made news, but I do not think there is a single repeat-infection case verified beyond doubts anywhere in the world at this time.

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She tested negative for flu and strep in February when she was sick. It was definitely not a cold.

I saw what she went through at the time. I am very confident what she had. I watched her suffer through it for 10 days. And then I watched my sons suffer through it too.

I don’t think there is any valid way of saying 1 in a million, because when it was first ramping up back then, nobody knows who had it or how many cases there were. There were no tests and it was practically unknown by most everyone back then.

Sure, because the burden of “proof” is so high. And because it is relatively new. And also, there is a fairly high rate of false negatives with testing. Like 20% false negatives on the most accurate day of testing (about 5-6 days after infection). And almost 100% false negatives on the first day of infection.

With other corona viruses, reinfection has been possible. Not really going out on a limb to suggest COVID-19 will be the same.

It’s overly optimistic to say that reinfection with the other corona viruses is possible, but with COVID-19, it’s okay, because that particular one can’t reinfect. That’s the one corona virus that can’t reinfect anyone?

Researchers found it was “not uncommon” for people with run-of-the-mill coronaviruses (not the one that causes COVID-19) to have a repeat infection within a year. Of 86 New York City residents infected with those coronaviruses, 12 tested positive for the same bug again.


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I understand this argument. On the last day of February, the CDC reported that 15 Americans had tested positive for COVID-19. But, as you noted, testing was close to non-existent at the time, and knowledge among medical professionals and public was comparably low. So, what was the actual number at the end of February: 100, 1000, 10000, 100000, a million, who knows, right? There is pretty strong evidence that puts that number at approximately 8000 at the end of February, based on what is called Phylogenetics (the study of the evolutionary tree), a summary of which can be found in a human-readable form in this very nice article in the Atlantic. Based on evolution of the sars-cov-2 genome Dr. Bedford (the utmost expert in the area) places case 0 in the US around January 15 (a person who flew from Wuhan to Seattle). He also estimated that the number of infected approximately doubled every week while the community spread went essentially undetected in January and February. Mid-February, this gives us a probability of having COVID in the US at approximately 2000/330 million = 6 in a million. Geographically, the early cases were heavily concentrated in the State of WA and the State of CA. So, unless you live in or traveled to those states, my estimate of 1 in a million chance is extremely generous.

Now, there are unusually harsh symptoms (which not uncommon for flu or other illnesses). Very generously, let’s give the symptoms a factor of 10, which puts chances of your wife’s COVID in mid-February at around 1 in 100,000. The negative flu test seems to be a very strong argument. However, it only gets us (generously again) another factor of 3 (because the false negatives for the flu test are about 30-50%). So, overall, the chances your wife had COVID in mid-February are objectively around 3 in 100,000, or around 0.003%. Not zero, but exceptionally low. Subjectively, we can feel however we prefer to feel, but the numbers are extremely far from “pretty sure.”

I have to disagree. The burden of proof for re-infection is not that high at all. All it takes is a positive test in say mid-April, a recovery, three months of feeling fine, and another positive test in say mid-July. Just in the US, there are around 500,000 candidates available. There is no way false negatives could possibly explain the absence of evidence for re-infection.

The proof of the negative is far more difficult, which is why WHO cautiously warned about the absence of evidence of immunity (as they should), as pointed by @ClaudnDaye.

Ultimately, regarding vaccines: at this time we simply do not know how things may develop. You may very well be correct that a vaccine (if we even get one) would have to be administered repeatedly. Or, maybe not, there is absolutely no way to tell either way at this time.

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