Los Angeles (AFP) - NBA star Stephen Curry took his questions on the coronavirus pandemic to senior US scientist Anthony Fauci on Tuesday in an Instagram conversation that drew almost 50,000 viewers, including former president Barack Obama.
The message from Fauci, who leads research into infectious diseases at the National Institutes of Health: "This is serious business."
"One of the reasons why I wanted to have this Q&A, is to hopefully reach different demographics and people who are interested in the facts," Curry told Fauci during the Instagram Live broadcast.
He said seeing pictures of people at crowded beaches and parks, even as Californians are under orders to stay home and pratice social distancing, prompted him to try to reach out.
Curry talked about his bout with what was confirmed to be seasonal flu earlier this month, revealing he was tested at the time for COVID-19.
"I had flu-like symptoms about two days before the NBA shut down and I got a test pretty much right away," Curry said. "And I know there's a conversation right now about the overall accessibility of tests."
Fauci responded: "That's been a real issue early on. 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, mostly because we got the private sector involved."
Fauci said people should first call a healthcare provider if they experience symptoms, rather than heading straight to an emergency room.
Fauci said he was hopeful that a vaccine will be available by next winter, but in the meantime social distancing, testing and use of personal protective gear are important measures to protect health care providers and those battling the illness.
"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."