Warriors guard Steph Curry usually relays messages from the comfort of a controlled press conference.
Curry did so from his couch Thursday morning, interviewing Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House coronavirus task force, on Instagram Live to shed light on the pandemic-causing COVID-19.
The idea of the 30-minute interview was cultivated last week, according to a league source, following Fauci's appearance on Barstool Sports' Pardon My Take podcast. David Schwab -- executive vice president of sports management company Octagon, which represents Curry-- called on athletes to use their platforms to interview figures like Fauci.
Following Schwab's tweet, Curry's representatives reached out to Schwab, who acted as an intermediary between Curry's team and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The idea was to target young people who aren’t getting their news from cable news channels.
Fauci discussed a number of topics during the interview, including testing and social distancing. The United States has over 80,000 confirmed cases as of Thursday, according to The Wall Street Journal. The NBA suspended its season earlier this month after Utah Jazz big man Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus.
Many initially thought the coronavirus carried similar symptoms and risks as the flu, Fauci said Thursday the coronavirus has shown to be "10 times" worse than influenza.
"It's similar in that it's a respiratory illness that's transmitted by the respiratory route," Fauci said. “It gives a degree of pathology that it's very, very much more transmissible than flu and more importantly, it's significantly more serious."
Dr Fauci to Steph Curry on the differences between coronavirus and the common flu. Fauci says COVID-19 is 10x more serious than influenza. pic.twitter.com/lEmy7Rxa1a— Logan Murdock (@loganmmurdock) March 26, 2020
The number of coronavirus cases nationwide is disputed due to limited access to testing equipment. On Thursday's chat, Fauci said that more tests are expected to be available with the help of private labs.
“That’s been a real issue early on," Fauci said. "Several weeks ago we were not in a place we wanted to be or needed to be."
“Right now there are literally hundreds of thousands of tests out there,” he added. "Mostly because we got the private sector involved.”
The coronavirus can cause respiratory problems, including cough, fever, shortness of breath and, more severely, pneumonia. While elders and people with weak immune systems typically are more susceptible, Fauci said younger patients should beware of the virus as well.
"Very heavily weighted towards the elderly and those underlying conditions,” he said. “ … Those are the people who have a higher degree of mortality," he said. "But what we are starting to see is people who are younger ... who don't have any underlying conditions, who are getting seriously ill. It's still a very small minority, but it doesn't mean that young people like yourself should say, 'I'm completely exempt from any risks of getting seriously ill.’ "
States have begun implementing social distancing measures in recent weeks to encourage citizens to stay at home in order to limit the coronavirus’ spread. California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered residents to stay in their homes and closed non-essential businesses last week in an effort to "flatten the curve" of the virus’ impact on hospitals and public-health systems.
Fauci expressed optimism about beating the coronavirus if citizens continue to practice social distancing.
“If we really push, we hope we will know by the time we get to next winter whether or not we have something that works,” Fauci said. “Vaccines are going to be important for next time around, not for what we’re dealing with now.”