Dr. Anthony Fauci discussed what he hopes the U.S. learned in the pandemic, while being honored at The University of Texas's Ken Shine Lectureship.
The annual lecture held on Thursday by Dell Medical School at UT Austin features the winner of the Ken Shine Prize in Health and Leadership—this year, Dr. Fauci was the honoree.
"You've been a shining light for those of us in our communities that have been working hard to advance science and without you, I think many of us would have felt really completely abandoned," said Dell Medical School's Dean Clay Johnson of Dr. Fauci's leadership.
Throughout the pandemic, Dr. Fauci has been the voice of reason for many and has pushed for more effective COVID-19 projects and procedures every step of the way. Moving forward, he hopes people don't soon forget the damage caused by a lack of preparedness.
"I would hope that we do not forget that and realize that we really do have to take a serious look at pandemic preparedness," said Dr. Fauci in the Zoom-facilitated lecture. "Including the ability to do massive testing, including the ability to restrengthen our local public health system."
While he never laid out any new plans for the forward movement of handling COVID-19, Dr. Fauci certainly had some ideas on how to increase readiness for catastrophes in the future and how the next administration can better inform Americans. In the discussion, he suggested putting out a consistent message.
"When you have a consistent message from leadership, from those who implement, it becomes much easier because there are no chinks in the armor, no gaps that people can capitalize on," Dr. Fauci said.
He went on to speak about a closer working relationship between the states and the federal government. While Dr. Fauci believes there have been "some successes" in that area, there is still significant improvement to be made.
At the end of the lecture, Ken Shine, M.D., former Vice Chancellor for health affairs at the University of Texas System and the man whose name the award bears, was also in attendance and said the closing words in honor of Dr. Fauci:
"In terms of the integrity ... and the candor and the honesty which you represent, those are values, which are critical to our society. No matter how, what area we're talking about, those are values, which you represent to the nth degree."
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Nicklaus Pereksta says he loves photographing enthusiastic people, and it’s why his latest gig offering pictures to people out on Lady Bird Lake’s hike and bike trail is going smoothly. He sets up his gear on the Pfluger pedestrian bridge and puts out a sign: Photos, $10.
“Overwhelmingly, this has been a really positive experience,” Pereksta said. “I get excited when I wake up in the morning and I can't wait to go to work.”
Bikers and joggers are excited about it too. On the pedestrian bridge leading to downtown Thursday morning, a man on an e-bike rode up and posed, wanting more photos.
“I posted the last pictures on Instagram and people loved it. They asked, ‘where is this guy?’” the biker told Pereksta. Bashfully, Pereksta, who also photographs landscapes and at weddings and other events, said he was happy to hear that.
Pereksta started these photos about a month ago, after the strenuous runs required in his valet job started causing pain in his legs. And though he has a passion for photography, he wasn’t so sure when he started working independently if it would work out.
He felt uncertain about the demand for it and was also worried about having lots of expensive equipment out in the open.
“Then like the first day was nothing but high praise and people are like, this is so awesome. This is great. I've never seen anything like this before. I was like, Wow, this was really good, like positive turnout. So I got encouraged.”
Now, he wants to expand and is thinking of contacting the Mueller Farmers Market about how to become a vendor. Still, he'll carry a connection to photographing on the bridge since the word bridge is related to his last name.
“It's a name my great, great, great grandfather came up with when he was marrying somebody. It's actually quite a romantic name. It means a joining of two bridges," Pereksta said. "So, I thought it was ironic that I'm set up on a bridge. I'm kind of representing my last name right now.”
Austonia talked to Pereksta about life in Austin, where he’s lived for eight years after living in Boston doing band photography.
What was your first experience with Austin?
I came here to visit some friends and they took me to Barbarella. So we went to Barbarella and I was like, ‘wow, this place is great.’ And then the restaurants and the food and going to Barton Springs. I was like, ‘this is amazing.’ Because there's nothing like that in Boston. If you want to go to a natural spring, you got to go to New Hampshire. There's no pools in the city at all. So there's lots of swimming out here.
What do you like best about Austin?
You go to any little quiet bar and there's a band playing that should be like onstage for a sold out show. Yeah, they're playing to 10 people, right? Like, one of the best bands ever and they're playing for 10 people, right? And just little magic moments like that are pretty fun. You just run into little random weird things.
What do you think makes Austin different from other places?
There’s no fall.
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