Fauci to graduates: ‘Virus is the enemy
Dr. Anthony Fauci told graduates on Sunday that the pandemic had created deep-seated divisions in society.
“Social division is counterproductive in a pandemic,” said Fauci, senior medical advisor to President Biden, in an opening video address to students at Emory University.
“We must not contradict each other because the virus is the enemy, not each other.”
Fauci, who received the president’s medal from the university, urged graduates to include civil service in their lives, even if it isn’t part of their full-time careers.
He told them the pandemic would shed light on the health disparities in the country and that it would be a decade-long commitment to eradicate the inequalities.
“That an infectious disease is being hospitalized unevenly and killing people with the color of skin does not fade after we return to some form of normalcy,” he said.
Speaking to graduates in Atlanta from Washington, Fauci said that during the COVID-19 pandemic, African Americans, Hispanics and Indians were more likely to be exposed to the virus than key workers.
People of color are more likely to have existing health risks such as diabetes or high blood pressure, he added.
“Now very few of these comorbidities have racial determinants,” said Fauci. “Almost all of them refer to the social determinants of health stemming from the adverse conditions some black people find themselves in from birth in terms of the availability of adequate nutrition, access to health care and the undeniable effects of racism in our society . “
Fauci said the graduating class deserved “tremendous respect” for completing their degrees during last year’s troubles amid the pandemic.
He also told them to expect the unexpected and told a story of his own when he was about to start an Infectious Disease Fellowship at the National Institutes of Health.
As he drove from New York to the NIH in Maryland, he pondered the view of some health scientists that studying infectious diseases was a disappearing specialty in the medical field.
“Fortunately for my career, but unfortunately and tragically for the rest of the world, even so-called experts are not always correct,” said Fauci.
With postal wires