Anthony Fauci on keeping up with Covid-19 news: ‘It’s like drinking from a fire hydrant’

White House advisor Anthony Fauci says he’s just like everyone else when it comes to sifting through the daily barrage of Covid-19 headlines.

“It’s like drinking from a fire hydrant,” Fauci told National Geographic for a story published Monday.

As part of his job as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Fauci, an immunologist, is tasked with determining which of the many Covid-19 research studies coming out have potential.

“Fortunately for me, I have a staff of three to four really good people who sift through the papers and when something looks unreasonable or ‘pie in the sky,’ they don’t bother me with that,” Fauci said.

To that end, every day Fauci’s staff gives him a list of studies to read through. If the study looks “feasible” from the abstract, Fauci puts it aside to read it fully later.

“When it’s something that they think I should read, they make sure I read it,” Fauci, who has been working nonstopwith little sleep since the pandemic started, told National Geographic.

But even with his “screening process,” Fauci said it’s still “very difficult” to consume everything that is out there.

He said he is also finding a lot of studies around Covid-19 that haven’t been properly vetted and peer-reviewed as is typically done for reputable scientific research.

“Anybody can claim to be an expert even when they have no idea what they’re talking about—and it’s very difficult for the general public to distinguish,” Fauci said.

So Fauci suggested the public should look at studies published in reputable journals like New England Journal of MedicineScienceNatureCell or JAMA.

These outlets, Fauci told National Geographic, are generally “quite well peer-reviewed” and the editors and staff of those journals “really take things very seriously.”

But Fauci added (without naming specific outlets) that even with reputable organizations, “you occasionally get an outlier who’s out there talking nonsense.”

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