By ANNE FLAHERTY, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — Matthew McConaughey interviewed Dr. Anthony Fauci for 40 minutes on Instagram Thursday with the Oscar-winning actor getting a chance to grill the nation’s top infectious disease expert on COVID-19.
McConaughey rapidly fired questions at the 79-year-old doctor on everything from how concerned people should be about getting the virus from touching a door knob (not as much as sharing close physical space with someone who is infected, Fauci says) to whether Advil makes symptoms worse (it doesn’t).
“OK, true-false: Sunlight kills the virus?” McConaughey asked.
“It does,” Fauci replied, supporting a theory pushed by President Donald Trump. “That’s the truth.”
What about letting everyone get infected so we all become immune and the disease dies out?
No way, Fauci said. That would cause big problems, particularly in America, where obesity is prevalent and related conditions like diabetes and hypertension are considered risk factors in how sick a person gets.
“If everyone contracted it … a lot of people are going to die,” Fauci said.
“The death toll would be enormous and totally unacceptable,” Fauci added. “And that’s the reason why we’re against saying, ‘Let it fly. Let everybody get infected and we’ll be fine.’ That’s a bad idea.”
Fauci also said Americans need to choose between getting to party this summer and opening schools in the fall: “You want to open the bars or you want to open the schools?”
McConaughey also asked Fauci if he had millions of dollars invested in a vaccine.
Fauci laughed: “Matthew, no. I got zero! I’m a government worker. I have a government salary.”
McConaughey turned philosophical at points during the interview, expressing his own personal disappointment and what he said was rage with the nation’s response to the pandemic.
“Like a lot of people, I’ve been more than disillusioned — actually quite full of rage — at how COVID has been politicized,” including masks, McConaughey said.
People, he added, are “looking for identity and purpose in a big time of unknown. And man, so many people have become disillusioned with our leadership,” he said. “But also so many people have fervently [clung] to the fringes of the right and left, which causes further divide a lack of unity.”
By the end of their discussion, McConaughey seemed heartened by Fauci’s suggestion that the nation could pull together again, because it’s done it in the past after World War II and 9/11.
“This is equivalent to that, Matthew. We’ve got to pull together, absolutely,” Fauci said.
“That’s it. … We can have our freedom and our party later. Right now, let’s pull together,” McConaughey said.
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