Dr. Fauci Warns of a New COVID 'Surge'
While much of the country has been successful in slowing the spread of COVID-19, there are still some serious problem areas. In an interview with Judy Woodruff, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, today revealed where the virus is currently surging—and what needs to be done to flatten the curve and prevent similar outbreaks in other states. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
Dr. Fauci Warned the Virus Is Surging in Certain States
Dr. Fauci describes the current state of the pandemic in the country as "a mixed bag" pointing to "very serious and very concerning" numbers of infection. "We've had now over 185,000 deaths, six plus million infections," he explained. "If you're looking at the country, a large heterogeneous country, there are some areas that are doing really very well right now, particularly those that got hit badly early on." He used New York City as an example, the initial epicenter of the virus, pointing out that the positivity rate has been less than 1% for over a month. However, he points to surges in the Southern States that increased the baseline number of daily infections up from 20,000 a day up to as high as 70,000. "We're back down now to between 30 and 40,000," however, "just as those states are starting to level off and come down, which is a really good sign, we're starting to see the beginning of surges in place like Montana, the Dakotas, Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa. So it's really a mixed bag." Overall, "some areas are doing really well and some are still threatening to have surges. So it's, it's not an easy situation for us."
Dr. Fauci On a Potential Shortcoming of the COVID Vaccine
Dr. Fauci pointed out that currently, there isn't a lot of data in regards to COVID vaccine trials and minorities. "We've got to get a higher percentage of minorities into the clinical trial so that when we get the data, we can say that it applies equally to the minority communities," he said. "African-American, Latinex, Native Americans and others, because we want to make sure that when we say that something is safe and effective, we mean it's safe and effective for everyone that we need to do a little bit better on."
Dr. Fauci On How to Prevent a Potential Twindemic
When cold and flu season meet the COVID pandemic, things could get messy. However, Dr. Fauci points out that there are some precautionary measures we can take to ease the potential damage. "We should continue to encourage people to get vaccinated with the influenza vaccine," he encouraged. He also pointed out that if our trends follow those seen in the southern hemisphere, where they experienced a much milder cold and flu season, "that would be a very good and favorable thing." "We think because people have done public health measures to avoid infection with the coronavirus — namely masks, distancing, avoiding crowds, washing hands — we've had the secondary effect that there are less influenza infections," he explained. "In fact, in Australia this year for that influenza season, which goes from April to September, they've had one of the lowest rates of influenza infection in memory. So if we can do that, I think that would be very favorable."
Dr. Fauci On the Potential Challenges of a Twindemic
There could be several issues when COVID does converge with the cold and flu, however, the first being wintertime in general. "When you have winter and indoors, you can expect an uptick of any type of respiratory illnesses. If we do have a full blown flu season, which I hope we don't, and we do not get control over the coronavirus, you can have several challenges," he says. The first? "Differentiating between COVID and flu, because there are medications for the flu and we're getting more and more medications for COVID," he says. "Number two. We wouldn't want to see an overwhelming of the healthcare delivery system, for example, hospital beds and intensive care unit beds, and even healthcare personnel," he continued. "That would be really a very serious issue if we begin to see any overwhelming of that. And that's the reason why, when you have two coexisting infections during the winter months, it becomes problematic."
Dr. Fauci On How to Overcome "Coronavirus Fatigue"
Dr. Fauci stresses the importance of "being vigilant" about the virus despite the "coronavirus fatigue" that many are feeling as we approach the year-mark of coronavirus. "It is clearly a risk when you've been, you know, exhaustingly involved in something now for eight months," he confessed. "One of the things that I do, and I believe it can be effective is to remind people that there will be an end to this. We will end this crisis that we are in right now, both from a public health standpoint and from a scientific standpoint, for example, with vaccines and treatments, when people know there's an end in sight, they can hang on a bit longer. It's when they throw their hands up in exasperation and say, 'this is the never going to end. So to heck with it, why don't we just get on with our lives and do what we want to do?' That can be a very dangerous conclusion to arrive at because it leads to carelessness and even more infections and the propagation of the pandemic. But when people see that, if they just hang in there a little bit more, we will come to a natural end to this. And that's what I try to emphasize to people when I speak." As for yourself: to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.