You weren’t the only one crushing on Stephen Curry and Dr. Anthony Fauci’s Instagram Q&A on Thursday.
Former President Barack Obama and pop star Justin Bieber were among those who tuned in to see the Golden State Warriors All-Star lob refreshingly useful questions at Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
After noting that he liked the mini basketball hoop hanging behind Fauci, Curry thanked America’s favorite doctor for his soothing daily updates on the pandemic and his “commitment to protecting the masses and bringing all your expertise and knowledge.”
Fauci, in turn, complimented “Steph” for asking “smart” questions during a Q&A that Curry said he set up in order to reach a demographic of Americans that he feared were not taking the pandemic seriously.
“You’ve been front and center from the start, spreading accurate information,” Curry said. “What’s the biggest piece of misinformation that’s... been out there?”
Fauci responded that it was “this dichotomy between people who are being frightened to death with [coronavirus] and people who don’t even believe it.”
“We have to get rid of the misconception that either ‘the world is going to end’ or ‘we’re not going to do anything.’ It’s somewhere in the middle,” he said.
“I’d like to get people in the country to realize that we’re dealing with a serious problem,” he continued, adding that there was a reason why people’s lives had been turned upside down and why Curry wasn’t able to play basketball.
“We have to pull together as a country. Don’t get frightened, don’t get intimidated, use the energy to be able to confront it and do the kind of things that will put an end to it.”
Curry said the response was “what we all needed to hear” and was one of the main reasons why he wanted to host the Q&A—to confirm that “what we’re doing is in the right spirit of trying to stop the spread as fast as possible.”
Curry has been on the bench since March 12 when the NBA, like every other major sporting competition, suspended its season to stem the flow of the coronavirus. Instead of shooting three pointers, he has turned his hand to public health messaging, fielding questions from fans and putting them to Fauci.
He asked how similar the coronavirus is to the seasonal flu, who it affects the most, why it was seemingly so hard for people to access a coronavirus test, and whether you can get COVID-19 twice.
Fauci responded that the virus had similar symptoms to the seasonal flu but appeared to be much more contagious and have a higher mortality rate.
He said most evidence suggests you can’t get COVID-19 twice and, although it affects the elderly and those with underlying symptoms, health experts are starting to see serious cases among young people.
“There are some people who are younger, people who are your age, young, healthy individuals, who don’t have underlying health conditions, who are getting seriously ill,” Fauci said. “Young people like yourself [shouldn’t] say, ‘I'm exempt from any risk of getting seriously ill.’”
Curry asked Fauci how officials will determine when it’s time to loosen serious restrictions, like “stay at home” orders, to which he replied that the trajectory of new infections had to start flattening.
Most of the basketballer’s followers, however, were interested in questions around testing.
Curry said he developed flu-like symptoms two days before the NBA was shut down and was tested right away. How, then, were so many Americans saying they were unable to easily access tests?
“Originally the system was not geared to this kind of massive capability of instantaneously, safely getting a test... in a good period of time, not days and days but hours,” Fauci replied. “The system is changing because it is being handed over to commercial firms who know how to do it.”
He said somebody who develops coronavirus symptoms should, in the first instance, stay at home and call their doctor. If they attend an emergency department, they risk infecting others.
Obama chimed in on Thursday’s live Q&A, leaving a comment that said, “Listen to the science. Do your part and take care of each other. Thank you Steph and Dr Fauci.”
Bieber also weighed in to say “Steph the man curry.”
Curry might have been the All-Star in the room but he thanked Fauci on Thursday for his selflessness and referred to him as the G.O.A.T.—Greatest of All Time.