Fauci speaks to the UM community about COVID-19

On Wednesday, Feb. 10, Anthony Fauci, the current chief medical advisor to the president and former director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, spoke to students over Zoom about COVID-19 as a part of the Medical Grand Rounds run by the Department of Medicine.

The topic of his talk was about the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges left to face.

Samantha Fagan, a junior studying anthropology and political science, works for the Graduate Program of Public Health at the medical campus and heard about the event through her boss.

“I just found out about it when I was meeting with my boss, and she was like, ‘You should really go,’ and I was like, ‘Yes please, that sounds so cool,’” Fagan said.

There are a lot of topics regarding COVID-19, and Fauci outlined seven of them, beginning with epidemiology and historical background on coronaviruses.

“He started with a recap and a small history on coronaviruses, like the common cold, which was nice, and also mentioned how in the past decades, there have been a few pandemic type coronaviruses but obviously not to the extent of COVID-19,” Fagan said.

In his talk to over 1,800 members of the University of Miami community, Fauci noted that around 30 percent of common colds are caused by coronaviruses and that COVID-19 is the third pandemic-level strain.

In discussing the global effects of the pandemic, he also focused on the United States and how it has become the nation hit hardest by the pandemic, with around 27 million cases so far.

“He had a map of global statistics up, which was cool and interesting to see,” said Neeha Madala, a junior studying neuroscience and art history.

Continuing his focus on the United States, Fauci tracked the three surges that have occurred over the past year— one in early spring, one in early summer and the last one in late fall.

“He talked about how government restrictions and leniency on regulations caused another wave to happen,” said Fagan.

In the final parts of his lecture, he touched on vaccines and how there have been great advancements to come out of the pandemic.

“He talked about the two we have now, the mRNA ones, and he talked about the two different other types of vaccines being developed, including one in the UK that was like 95 percent effective,” said Fagan.

Fauci urged everyone to get vaccinated as soon as it is available to them.

Both Fagan and Madala felt that the most compelling part of his lecture was a statistic he shared about COVID-19 transmission in the United States.

“He said that 58 percent of COVID-19 transmissions were from asymptomatic people, so like most transmissions were from people who didn’t know they had any symptoms,” Fagan said.

His talk can be found here.