Dr Anthony Fauci has revealed that Kim Kardashian arranged a private Zoom call with him and dozens of other A-listers during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report.
The reality TV star facilitated the virtual talk in April between the director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and 36 other celebrities, including Gwyneth Paltrow and partner Brad Falchuk, Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, Orlando Bloom, Katy Perry and rapper 2 Chainz, CNN reported.
The glitterati asked many of the questions others would ask about coronavirus, including the use of face masks, social distancing and whether it was safe to eat takeaway food, Dr Fauci told the network.
“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,” Dr Fauci, 79, said.
“I was impressed by the questions they asked, by their level of sophistication,” the infectious diseases expert said, adding that he saw an advantage to taking part in the hour-long call being that the celebrities had “megaphones” and “could get the word out about staying safe”.
“Each of them has enormous numbers of followers on their social media accounts. I could say to them, for example, it’s important to wear a mask, and they get on their accounts and say, ‘Wear a mask,’ and it goes out to an additional couple of million people,” he said.
The discussion was the brainchild of Kardashian, according to CNN, which cited sources including a person close to her family who said she took note when Surgeon General Dr Jerome Adams made an appeal to her younger sister, Kylie Jenner, on Good Morning America.
“We need to get Kylie Jenner and social media influencers out there, in helping folks understand that look, this is serious, this is absolutely serious. People are dying,” Dr Adams said on GMA, prompting Jenner to write on Instagram that she listened to him and pleaded with her followers to “practice social distancing, self-quarantine,” according to a piece in Variety.
Kardashian then decided to compile a list of other celebrities and contacted Dr Fauci’s office, the source close to her family told CNN.
“She wanted to speak with someone, to ask questions, so she could spread accurate information because there were so many inaccuracies those first few months,” the source told the network.
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Dr Fauci said during the Zoom call Mila Kunis asked him whether it was safe to eat takeaway food.
“I told her I feel badly about restaurants losing business, and I feel it’s almost a neighbourly obligation to keep neighbourhood restaurants afloat, so even though I can cook at home, several nights a week I go out for take-out purely to support those places,” he said.
One of the sources familiar with the call told CNN that Dr Fauci told Kunis not to be “paranoid”.
“And then her husband, Ashton Kutcher, said, ‘That’s it – I’m ordering a pizza – finally!’ And then he took out his cellphone and pretended to order a pizza,” the source said.
During the pandemic, Dr Fauci has faced the wrath of US President Donald Trump, who has called him a “disaster” and told his campaign staff: “People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots, these people that have gotten it wrong.”
President-elect Joe Biden planned to meet on Monday with his new coronavirus task force and give remarks about his plans for tackling the pandemic, which has so far killed more than 237,000 people in the US. The virus has now infected at least 10 million in the US with daily numbers of new cases currently sitting around 125,000.
This story originally appeared on Page Six and is republished here with permission