Will Smith Interviews Dr. Anthony Fauci About the Prevalence of COVID-19 in African Americans

Dr. Anthony Fauci says the prevalence of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, in the African American community is “one of the failings of our society,” during a new interview with actor Will Smith.

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, appears on a new episode of Smith’s Snapchat show Will at Home, airing Wednesday, to answer questions about the virus from Smith and kids aged 5 to 16.

Smith, 51, asked Fauci if “there’s a comprehension as to why” the African American community has been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. In Louisiana, for example, 70 percent of the state’s COVID-19 cases had been in African Americans on April 7, despite making up just 32 percent of the state’s population. The same is true in Chicago, where 72 percent of cases had been in African Americans while they represent just 30 percent of the population.

Fauci said that African Americans are hurt by the “disparities” in the health care available to them.

“It’s really terrible, because it’s just one of the failings of our society, that African Americans have a disproportionate prevalence in incidents of the very comorbid conditions that put you at a high risk,” Fauci told Smith.

Those conditions include hypertension, obesity, diabetes and asthma, Fauci said, and they all put African American people at a higher risk of developing severe cases of COVID-19.

“If you get infected, you’re going to have a poor outcome,” Fauci said, adding that the pandemic is focusing “a bright shining light on what disparities of health mean.”

Smith also had Fauci answer questions from kids and teens via video. One teen girl asked, “is this ever going to end, or is this something we’re going to have to be doing for a good portion of our lives?”

“When we have a vaccine, and we have enough baseline immunity, this is something you are not going to worry about for the rest of your life,” Fauci told her. “It’s tough now, and it may be tough for another year, but this is something that will go away, I promise you.”

He also told a young sister and brother that they could go on walks, as long as they stay six feet away from other people, and weighed in on the tooth fairy after 7-year-old Ava asked, “Can the tooth fairy still come if I lose my tooth, because of the coronavirus? And can she catch the virus?”

“I’ve got to tell you Ava, I don’t think you have to worry about the tooth fairy,” Fauci said. “So when your tooth falls out, you stick it under your pillow, and I guarantee you, that that tooth fairy is not going to get infected and is not going to get sick.”

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