Why Anthony Fauci thinks getting takeout is a 'neighborly obligation'

"Even though I can cook at home, several nights a week I go out for takeout purely to support those places," Dr. Fauci said.
Image: Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, at his home in Washington DC.
Dr. Anthony Fauci spoke to several influential celebrities at the start of the pandemic to "get the word out about staying safe."Frankie Alduino / Redux Pictures
/ Source: TODAY

During a video call with several celebrities at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci shared some thoughts on how to safely support local restaurants.

CNN reported that the call, which took place at the end of April, was designed to be a space for celebrities to get accurate information about the coronavirus and the mitigation measures people should take. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House coronavirus task force, told CNN that he took part in the hour-long discussion because he believed celebrities "could get the word out about staying safe."

"It was a whole bunch of movie stars and some sports figures and they wanted to know about what they could do to stay safe, about wearing masks and avoiding crowds," Fauci told CNN on Nov. 8. "I was impressed by the questions they asked, by their level of sophistication."

According to CNN, actress Mila Kunis asked about whether take out food was safe to order.

"I told her I feel badly about restaurants losing business, and I feel it's almost a neighborly obligation to keep neighborhood restaurants afloat," Fauci explained. "Even though I can cook at home, several nights a week I go out for takeout purely to support those places."

"I told her the one thing she can do instead of worrying is wash her hands," Fauci continued.

Dr. Dean Winslow, an infectious disease doctor and professor of medicine at the Stanford University Medical Center in Stanford, California, agreed with Fauci's assessment of takeout as a safe activity that can help restaurants make some money during an extraordinarily difficult time for the industry.

"I would certainly encourage people to support their local restaurants by getting takeout," Winslow said. "I think it's really important for all of us to be in this together, so I definitely have no problems at all with people getting takeout."

It's "absolutely" safe, he said, adding that there's very little risk of getting ill from touching take out containers or food.

"You don't have to worry about sanitizing the outside of the packages or anything like that," Winslow said. "This virus is really transmitted by the airborne route. You're not going to pick it up from touching a food container or something."