The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases recently sat in on a virtual town hall for children on the kids’ news podcast ‘The Ten News.’
Dr. Fauci answered questions about vaccines, handwashing, and when it will be safe for sleepovers. Dr. Fauci has a knack for explaining the science behind the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in a way that’s engaging and child friendly.
We rounded up some highlights from the town hall for you to share with your family.
If everyone stayed home for two weeks, would COVID go away?
That would likely decrease the amount of COVID cases in the country, but it probably wouldn’t go away entirely, said Dr. Fauci. That’s because the coronavirus is “very, very prevalent in the United States.”
Dr. Fauci said it’s going to take more than just two weeks of shutting down. Everyone needs to keep wearing masks in public and avoid close contact with people outside of their families.
Someone in my class was exposed to COVID. I wore my mask every day – will I get it, too?
If you wore your mask faithfully every day, the odds of getting COVID are low, said Dr. Fauci. Because we can’t rule it out, though, it’s important to quarantine after an exposure and to keep wearing your mask and washing your hands frequently.
Is it better to wash your hands with liquid soap, bar soap, or hand sanitizer?
They’re pretty much all the same, said Dr. Fauci. If you’re using soap and water, make sure you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. If you’re using hand sanitizer, you need to rub it in until your hands are dry.
Can pets carry COVID?
There have been rare instances of pets contracting COVID-19, but the risk is really, really low. “One of the things we don’t want to do is to have children be worried that their pets are going to be dangerous to them,” said Dr. Fauci. So go ahead and give your dog a big hug!
If I have an allergy, can I still get the vaccine?
Yes, said Dr, Fauci. But you’ll probably end up getting your vaccine in a place with trained medical professionals, like a doctor’s office or hospital. If you happen to have an allergic reaction to the vaccine, then those people will be right there to help treat it.
How long until everyone has the vaccine and things will go back to normal? And when can I have sleepovers again?
“Well, it depends on how many people decide they want to get vaccinated. And that’s the reason why we’re encouraging everyone to get vaccinated,” explained Dr. Fauci. We’ll need to vaccinate a significant portion of the 330 plus million people in the US before it’ll feel like we’re back to normal.
What does Dr. Fauci hope children understand about the pandemic?
“Don’t get discouraged. Things are going to get better,” he said. “They’re going to be back to normal. You’re going to be able to play with your friends. You’re going to be able to go to school without worrying about it. You’re going to be able to have parties and have fun. This will end. I promise you, we will get back to normal. It may be several more months, but we will get back to normal. So don’t get discouraged.”
Dr. Fauci also answered questions that weren’t related to the pandemic. He said it was really exciting throwing out the first pitch at the Washington Nationals baseball game earlier this year and that his favorite place in Brooklyn is Coney Island. Dr. Fauci has three daughters who live in different parts of the country and that he is a dog person, all the way.
You can listen to the entire town hall with Dr. Fauci and The Ten News here.