WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The leading US expert on infectious diseases, Dr Anthony Fauci, on Thursday (July 16) implored younger people to continue social distancing and other measures to curtail spread of the novel coronavirus, which has surged in some parts of the country.
"Please assume the societal responsibility of being part of the solution, not part of the problem," he said in a live interview with Facebook Inc Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg.
Social media platforms including Facebook, which in April removed "pseudoscience" as an option for advertisers, have been criticised for allowing the spread of misinformation about the pandemic, from bogus cures to wide-ranging conspiracy theories.
New US cases of Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, have climbed to over 60,000 a day from daily totals under 20,000 in May. The median age of those infected has fallen by about 15 years as younger people, many of whom may show few symptoms of illness, are being infected, Dr Fauci said.
He cautioned that even asymptomatic people can spread the coronavirus to others, increasing the likelihood that the virus could infect a more vulnerable person.
Dr Fauci said some states have moved forward with reopening even though they did not meet guidelines issued by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
In other states "the citizenry ... put caution to the wind," he said, citing photos showing people congregating at bars without face coverings.
"We have to regroup," Dr Fauci said, noting that some regions of the country are much less at risk than others.
He urged people to wear face coverings, avoid crowds, maintain social distance and remember that being outdoors is always better than being indoors.
"We should be looking at public health measures as a vehicle or a gateway to getting the economy back," he said.