Dr. Anthony Fauci, who graduated from College of the Holy Cross in Worcester in 1962, spoke with a group of students on Wednesday, urging them to keep hope during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Photo | College of the Holy Cross YouTube account
Dr. Anthony Fauci addressed Holy Cross students virtually on Tuesday
”The thing that we’ve got to make sure we appreciate is that this is going to end,” Fauci said of the pandemic. “One of the things we have to be careful about is despair… We’re going to get a vaccine, we’re going to get it in a reasonable amount of time. Don’t give up hope.”
Fauci is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. While at Holy Cross, he studied majored in classics with a premedical concentration, according to Holy Cross.
Responding to a student question, Fauci acknowledged the ways in which the pandemic is wreaking havoc on many people’s mental health.
“Even people who don’t have an underlying propensity to any kind of mental health issue are really stressed and strained by everything we’re going through,” Fauci said.
It’s also important to remember, Fauci said, that changes to routine and lifestyle because of the pandemic, although necessary, are not normal.
“You should not expect everybody to just adjust to this in such an easy way, but particularly when you have people who have underlying stress and strain because of an underlying mental disorder,” Fauci said. “You have to pay strict attention to them and mobilize all the mental health resources that you possibly can.”
That kind of mobilizing, he said, is something that has been a recurring conversation at the federal coronavirus response level.
Other topics Fauci covered on Tuesday included the importance of wearing face masks, as well as the ways in which the pandemic is disproportionately impacting Black and Latinx communities. Not only are Black and brown people more likely to be essential workers, but they are more likely to have comorbidities if they do get infected, Fauci said.
Such disparities, Fauci said, were shameful, and should not be forgotten when the pandemic subsides.
“The thing that will only take decades is to finally realize that the social determinants of health are absolutely critical because African Americans and Latinx, but particularly among African Americans — it isn’t genetic,” Fauci said. “It’s the fact that from the time they were born, the access to healthy food,the economic conditions that they were in, make them more likely to have diabetes, hypertension, obesity, chronic lung disease and kidney disease, through no fault of their own except for the social determinants of health that started when they were born.”
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