‘Everybody’s got to take this seriously’: Fauci warns against coronavirus indifference among young people

“I would like to see a dramatic diminution of the personal interaction that we see in restaurants and in bars,” he said. “Whatever it takes to do that, that’s what I would like to see.”

Some local governments and businesses have stepped up to attempt to force social separation, banning mass gatherings and slashing business hours. The issue was unavoidable over the weekend for scores of travelers who tried to rush back to the U.S. in the wake of a new travel ban by the administration, crowding airports across the country, which Fauci called “unfortunate” and “not what you like to see.”

But where social interaction is able to be avoided, Fauci said, it is imperative to heading off a crisis the likes of which countries like Italy are grappling with.

“Certainly it is conceivable that if we don’t do that you could get as bad as Italy,” he warned. “But I don’t think we’re going there, if we do the kind of things that we’re publicly saying we need to do. We need to be very serious about, for a while, life is not going to be the way it used to be in the United States. We have to just accept that if we want to do what’s best for the American public.”