Jason Isbell spoke with the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, via video chat for an interview posted on the musician’s YouTube page. Isbell asked Dr. Fauci about the COVID-19 vaccines, how concerts can proceed safely during the pandemic and additional topics.
The Nashville-based musician was among the first to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test to attend his shows. Jason noted he has friends and family who are reluctant to get vaccinated and queried Dr. Fauci on what he should say to assure them the vaccines are safe. Dr. Fauci said it’s best not to make the vaccine reluctant feel guilty. “That just doesn’t work,” the doctor said. “What you try to do is to just get in a conversation and have them articulate to you why they’re hesitant because some of them are very valid questions. If you give them the answer to a valid question you might turn them around,” Dr. Fauci noted and gave examples of questions that might be asked.
Isbell went on to ask what other measures he could take besides the vaccine/proof of a negative test requirement to keep the audience safe. Dr. Fauci said the most important thing entertainers can do is to perform outdoors. “It really is true that the risk of infection in an indoor, not optimally-ventilated place is dramatically higher [than] getting infected [at] an outdoor one,” Dr. Fauci responded.
He also advised Jason to tell audiences that those who feel more comfortable wearing masks at his shows should do so without feeling guilty. “I was hoping you would say also that yelling out requests is a really good way of spreading the virus so they should stop yelling out requests from the audience,” Jason quipped.
Other topics covered were the differences between the flu and COVID-19 and what would happen if we reach herd immunity. Watch the full conversation below: