Lil Wayne Interviews Anthony Fauci About Coronavirus Predictions

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images/AP Photo/Alex Brandon
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images/AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Rapper Lil Wayne interviewed doctor Anthony Fauci — the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases — on his new radio show, Young Money Radio.

“I want to say thank you for even considering being on this show, Dr. Fauci, I really do want to say thank you,” said Lil Wayne as he introduced Dr. Fauci to his show, which is hosted via Apple Music’s Beats 1 radio. “You made a prediction that the U.S. could experience 100,000 to 200,000 deaths,” the Grammy-winner added. “I saw a week later, you were forced to revise that estimate. What number do you think we’re at now?”

Fauci estimated that the United States will likely see between 120,000 to 140,000 coronavirus deaths this year.

“Well, as you mentioned correctly, Lil Wayne, we’re over 100,000,” said Fauci. “And we still have a number of states, cities, regions, that have active transmission of infection. So although we don’t want to predict an exact number, I think it’s probably going to be at least another 20 or more thousand, maybe 120,000, 140,000.”

“You gotta be careful, because you know, all of these predictions that we’ve made over these months have turned out to not be completely accurate,” added Fauci. “If we don’t make sure — as we’re trying to ‘open up America again’ — to get things back to normal, there’s gonna be people who are going to get infected, and we may get rebounds.”

“So we need to be able to prepare ourselves to respond to those rebounds,” affirmed Fauci.

The rapper then asked whether Fauci thinks that returning to normalcy will increase the risk of infection.

“I see a lot of cities opening back up and people partying in large numbers,” noted Lil Wayne. “Do you think this will affect the numbers of deaths?”

“I think it will,” said Fauci. “I think that if you look at the dynamics of an outbreak in any given state, city, or county, or region, if the infection level is really low, they can afford to be a little more brisk in how they open up and get back to some form of normality.”

But if you have a state our a county or a city in which there’s still a lot of active infection, and you jump out there and prematurely do the kind of mingling and get rid of the distancing — you know, you saw those pictures on TV of people crowding at bars and at beaches — you gotta be careful of that because you might be tempting to fate to allow there be a rebound infection, so you gotta do this with care with prudence.

To date, the 21 states that have eased lockdown restrictions since May 4 haven’t experienced significant increases in Chinese coronavirus hospitalizations and fatalities, according to an ABC News investigation. The report also said there wasn’t a spike in the rate of people testing positive for the disease.

“I hope we’ll get a vaccine,” added Fauci at one point during the interview.

“By December?” asked Lil Wayne.

“We’ve already started the early phases of the vaccine trial in a number of different candidates,” said Fauci.

“And we hope that if we get lucky — and I’m cautiously optimistic that we will — that by the end of this calendar year, the beginning of 2021, that we would have a vaccine that we could deploy to people throughout the country, and then other vaccines maybe throughout the world,” he added.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.

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