Dr. Anthony Fauci did not write a coronavirus post that has gone viral on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. The long post compares COVID-19 to herpes, chickenpox, and other viruses and then asks “How dare you?” The original post was actually written in June by Amy Wright.
Here’s what you need to know.
People Are Attributing the Post to Dr. Fauci, But It Was Written By Amy Wright
People are attributing the viral post to Fauci, but it was written by Amy Wright, who published it on Facebook on June 14. According to her Facebook page, she joined the site in 2008.
Here’s the post that’s being shared. It’s long.
Chickenpox is a virus. Lots of people have had it, and probably don’t think about it much once the initial illness has passed. But it remains in your body forever, and maybe when you’re older you have debilitatingly painful outbreaks of shingles. You don’t just get over this virus in a few weeks, never to have another health effect. We know this because it’s been around for years, and has been studied medically for years.
Herpes is also a virus. And once someone has it, it stays in your body and lives there forever, and anytime they get a little run down or stressed-out they’re going to have an outbreak. Maybe every time you have a big event coming up (school pictures, job interview, big date) you’re going to get a cold sore. For the rest of your life. You don’t just get over it in a few weeks. We know this because it’s been around for years, and been studied medically for years.
HIV is a virus. It attacks the immune system, and makes the carrier far more vulnerable to other illnesses. It has a list of symptoms and negative health impacts that goes on and on. It was decades before viable treatments were developed that allowed people to live with a reasonable quality of life. Once you have it, it lives in your body forever. Over time, that takes a toll on the body, putting people living with HIV at greater risk for health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, diabetes, bone disease, liver disease, cognitive disorders, and some types of cancer. We know this because it has been around for years, and had been studied medically for years.
Now we have SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19. It’s a novel virus that spreads rapidly and easily. The full spectrum of symptoms and health effects is only just beginning to be cataloged, much less understood.
So far the symptoms may include:
Acute respiratory distress
Lung damage (potentially permanent)
Loss of taste (a neurological symptom)
Nausea or vomiting
Loss of appetite
Strokes have also been reported in some people who have COVID-19 (even in the relatively young)
COVID toes (weird, right?)
People testing positive for COVID-19 have been documented to be sick even after 60 days. Many people are sick for weeks, get better, and then experience a rapid and sudden flare up and get sick all over again. A man in Seattle was hospitalized for 62 days, and while well enough to be released, still has a long road of recovery ahead of him. Not to mention a $1.1 million medical bill.
Then there is MIS-C. Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs. Children with MIS-C may have a fever and various symptoms, including abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, neck pain, rash, bloodshot eyes, or feeling extra tired. While rare, it has caused deaths.
This disease has not been around for years. It has basically been with us for only 6 months. No one knows yet the long-term health effects, or how it may present itself years down the road for people who have been exposed. We literally *do not know* what we do not know.
So, for those in our society who suggest that people being cautious are cowards, for people who refuse to take even the simplest of precautions to protect themselves and those around them, I want to ask, without hyperbole and in all sincerity:
How dare you?
How dare you risk the lives of others so cavalierly?
How dare you decide for others that they should welcome exposure as “getting it over with”, when literally no one knows who will be the lucky “mild symptoms” case, and who may fall ill and die?
Because while we know that some people are more susceptible to suffering a more serious case, we also know that 20 and 30 year olds have died, marathon runners and fitness nuts have died, children and infants have died.
How dare you behave as though you know more than medical experts? Those same experts acknowledge that there is so much we don’t yet know, but with what we DO know, are smart enough to be scared of how easily this is spread, and recommend baseline precautions such as:
Reduced social/public contact or interaction;
Covering your cough or sneeze;
Avoiding touching your face; and
Sanitizing frequently touched surfaces.
The more things we can all do to mitigate our risk of exposure, the better off we all are, in my opinion, an opinion shared by medical science. Not only does it “flatten the curve” and allow health care providers to maintain levels of service that aren’t immediately and catastrophically overwhelmed; it also reduces unnecessary suffering and deaths, and buys time for the scientific community to study the virus in order to come to a more full understanding of the breadth of its impacts in both the short and long term.
The notion that it’s “just a virus” and we all have to get it eventually is a careless, lazy, heartless stance.
The original post, as written by Wright, can be seen below. She started out by writing: “Here is my take. Short-sighted people want to dismiss COVID-19 as ‘just a virus’. You may hear some suggest it’s ‘like a cold’. Maybe that makes them feel better because it’s familiar and makes this crisis feel less overwhelming. But here’s the problem with that.”
Her original post had 1,100 liked, 99 comments, and 7,200 shares at the time of publication. Some people incorrectly attributed the post to Stephen A. Merritt, a musician who shared it and got 30,000 shares. But he attributed the post to Wright once he learned the origins.
Wright said that she understood these posts would take a life of their own. She wrote, “Sharing anything online like this inevitably means one is ‘releasing it into the world’. Inherent in that is the understanding that we may not have a say in what happens next.”
Wright shared that she wasn’t sure why it was attributed to Fauci. She wrote, “I have seen that people are sharing this with the attribution to Dr. Fauci. People who are simply sharing something they’ve seen and feel aligned with the thoughts being shared is one thing. But the person or persons who originally decided to add that attribution… well I have to say the impetus behind that decision mystifies me.”
She also noted that she’d be happy to clarify or fix any facts in her post if they were later discovered to be wrong. She wrote:
For people who are wanting to know whether this is fact checked, I would just say that the only things that could be categorized as factual in my perspective posted above are the lists of symptoms to known diseases and conditions. Symptoms can be fairly easily verified at countless reputable websites. Symptoms listed as associated with Covid-19 have been reported as observed trends, but I don’t believe they are part of any accepted canon, yet. My *whole point* is that we are still learning, and would be wise to listen to experts and exercise caution.
Any statement I have shared as factual that can be credibly debunked, I am happy to quickly and humbly amend.”
Someone joked that she should be honored that her words were being attributed to Fauci. She wrote, “Haha! I doubt he would feel the same. ;)”
The misattribution spread fast on social media. Even Wisconsin Gazette incorrectly attributed the post to Fauci on July 19.
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