NBC Late Night Host Lilly Singh Debunks Coronavirus Myths with Dr. Anthony Fauci
The pair discusses topics including the spread of the virus and treatment plans
As new information about the coronavirus pandemic continues to surface every day, NBC late-night host Lilly Singh is enlisting the help of a top medical professional to get the facts straight about the fast-spreading virus.
On Friday, one of the nation’s leading disease experts, Dr. Anthony Fauci, called into a video chat with Singh to debunk some of the myths surrounding the coronavirus and answer several questions about the spread of the illness.
“It’s causing a lot of anxiety, fear, and confusion,” the 31-year-old television personality shared of the rumors surrounding the virus.
“Misinformation makes things way worse, my goal for this video is to debunk some of the myths associated with coronavirus and get to the facts,” she said.
In the 17-minute clip, Singh asks Fauci to speak to a variety of topics including how the virus spreads and when people can expect life to go back to normal.
The late-night host kicked off her list of questions by asking how the novel coronavirus differs from the seasonal flu.
“It’s not seasonal flu, it transmits much more rapidly,” Fauci, 79, explained. “This is 10 times more lethal than seasonal flu, we’ve never seen hospital rooms overrun and you run out of beds and run out of ventilators.”
Singh then asked Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, for advice on how cautious people should be when it comes to wiping things down.
“Viruses can live on inanimate objects for various periods of time. It does better on stainless steel, certain types of plastic, it does less well on clothes,” he said. “But it can live on a surface for several hours or maybe even a day or two.”
“Use precaution for things like doorknobs or things that are frequently touched, like a credit card,” he suggested.
However, Fauci admitted that it’s impossible to sterilize everything.
“If you over-do it, you’ll paralyze yourself,” he said.
When it comes to using face masks, Fauci explained the main purpose of the gear is to “protect a healthcare worker” and they don’t need to be worn by everybody.
“Is it 100 percent protective? No way,” Fauci revealed. “There is some degree of protection but it isn’t completely protected against the transmission.”
Fauci also debunked the myth that there is currently a cure for the coronavirus.
“God bless Canada, but they haven’t found the cure,” Fauci said in response to Singh asking if her native country had created a working vaccine.
“The situation is that we have vaccines, we started a vaccine trial a few weeks ago. It’s the fastest we’ve ever gone into human trials, but it’s not going to be available for at least a year, or a year and a half,” he explained.
“There is no definitely proven drug that is effective against this disease,” Fauci asserted.
He also explained that the rumor that Advil can make the respiratory illness worse has not been proven.
“There is no evidence to indicate that any anti-inflammatory makes the virus worse, there are anecdotal stories about that, but I have not seen any convincing evidence that that’s the case.”
At the end of the clip, Singh asked Fauci about the timeline of the disease and when people could expect their lives to return to normal — a question that the nation continues to ask while stuck at home.
“You can’t predict it, but you can look at what’s happened with this same epidemic in other countries,” he said. “In China, it was about eight to nine weeks before it went up and down.”
He added, “We right now as a country have multiple epidemics going on. As a country, it’s probably going to be several weeks before we see it turn around.”
Singh also announced a fundraiser in support of UNICEF which aims to raise funds to reduce the impact of the pandemic on children, youth and their care providers. YouTube has committed a $250K donation, and you can support the fundraiser by donating directly through her YouTube channel.
As of March 27, the United States has surpassed both Italy and China to become the nation with the most confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world with at least 85,381 cases of the contagious respiratory virus and 1,271 deaths.
As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.