The actress sat down with Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a prominent member of the White House's coronavirus task force, for a virtual chat on her Instagram page Thursday, and she couldn't help but geek out a little over getting to speak with the health care expert.
"This is a thrill for me, because there are very few experts of anything in the world," Roberts raved. "You truly have emerged as a personal hero for me. Just to have this little corner of your time for us is such a joy."
The two spoke candidly about the continued importance of social distancing, as Fauci urged caution when it comes to reopening businesses and public spaces across the country.
“Physical separation has worked but not completely,” he noted. “If you look at the curves in our country, it isn’t like everything is dramatically going down. Now is not the time to tempt fate and pull back completely.”
The infectious disease expert also praised Roberts' notion that the country might never "return to normal" as we knew it, but was optimistic about shaping the idea of a new normal in a positive way.
"People say, 'Do you think we’ll be back to normal this summer?' and I say, I don’t really think so, because I think it may be a new normal, but it’s not going to be the way we had it before," he explained. "We’re talking about an appreciation for what something like this has done and can do ... If the new normal is being an awareness of our vulnerability to these types of things, that’s looking at it in a positive, potentially constructive way.”
Fauci also took over Roberts' Instagram account for the day as part of ONE's Pass the Mic campaign, sharing facts about the global pandemic, treatment research and the power of staying "cautiously optimistic" with her more than 8 million followers.
"Thanks for following along throughout the day to learn about this outbreak and how @NIHgov & @niaid are researching treatments and vaccine candidates to help you and this country get back to your normal lives safely," he captioned his last post, appropriately enough, a photo of him washing his hands. "Thanks again to Julia Roberts for letting me take over her account!"