One-On-One with Dr. Anthony Fauci: COVID-19 and Black America 

From the beginning of COVID-19, he was the one to whom many Americans turned to for information on how they were going to make it through an historic global pandemic.  

Dr. Anthony Fauci has served as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) from 1984-2022. He is a renowned physician-scientist cited for his contribution to HIV/AIDS research and other diseases. Fauci served as one of the members leading the White House Coronavirus Task Force during the height of the pandemic during the Donald Trump presidency. 

In a One-On-One interview with the Michigan Chronicle, Dr. Anthony Fauci, now retired as the Chief Medical Advisor to President Joe Biden, explored the barriers to healthcare for Black Americans, who’s at higher risk, what people should be doing to protect themselves, as well his doctor’s orders or recommendations from the White House podium as the fate of the nation hung to his every word at the height of the Coronavirus pandemic.  

Dr. Fauci argues that during the colder months there is always an uptick in respiratory illness and influenza. He recommends a booster vaccine which he believes is sufficient in treating the latest coronavirus variant.  

“Not only are African Americans, usually because of the nature of their essential jobs, they have more of a risk of getting infected,” said Fauci. He bases this fact on the data he has observed over the last years and draws the connection from Black individuals contracting the virus at higher rates because of the contact-to-contact community engagement related to their jobs to the historical determinants of health.  

“This goes back centuries and decades, dating back to the element of racism and discrimination, their health status is somewhat more tenuous than the general population.” 

Dr. Fauci states the Black community has a higher level of diabetes, hypertension, obesity and heart disease. Once someone is infected with the Coronavirus, there is a greater likelihood of contracting a severe outcome which leads to hospitalization and death. 

“It is imperative for Brown and Black people to utilize the availability for these very effective and safe vaccines.” He also mentions effective anti-viral medicine in market to treat the virus once infected. 

Dr. Fauci had been the leading face behind getting information related to the COVID pandemic and at times, his recommendations would be contradicted by former President Trump. 

“Everything that has to do with the health of the nation, the President wants to hear about,” he said. “If there was more of a risk of the intervention that the disease then you wouldn’t recommend it.” 

Dr. Fauci believes that life comes with a slight bit of risk, but says the vaccines are overwhelmingly safe and the benefits outweigh the small risk. 

“The vaccines which have saved millions of lives thus far is a very safe vaccine,” he notes.  

As COVID enters a third year in the United States, Fauci says he has no regrets in his forthcoming messages to the American people.  

“I’m comfortable with the decisions based on the data I had at the time,” he said. “Information is available to you and you can only act on the information you have and you have to be flexible enough to change things like recommendations and guidelines depending upon the accommodation of new data and new evidence.” 

Dr. Fauci retired from NIAID and his White House senior advisory role to President Biden at the end of 2022. 

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