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Dr. Fauci Just Issued This Urgent Warning

“There is light at the end of the tunnel, but it's going to be up to us,” he says.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek
Doctor Anthony Fauci

Coronavirus cases are plateauing, which is good news, and the vaccine is on the way—but there may be darker days to come. New COVID variants are proving more transmissible—one, in fact, can reinfect you even after you've had COVID. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, appeared last night on CNN's The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer to issue a warning—and sage advice about how to stay safe. 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 Things Could Get Worse—and It's Up to You to Stop It

Blitzer walked Fauci through the death toll. "In November, 37,000. In December, 77,000. Last month, 95,000. After all we've been through, Dr. Fauci, is the worst still yet to come?"

"I hope not," answered Dr. Fauci, "but it is conceivable that things could get a little worse. What we're starting to see, which is a good sign, is that we're starting to see a plateauing of the numbers of cases, which will always be followed by a diminution and a plateauing, and then ultimately a diminution of hospitalizations as well as deaths."

But—he warned—"still even if it plateaus and starts to come down, we're still at a very high disturbing level, but hopefully we'll continue to see a down trend. So if we continue to abide by and use and implement the public health measures together with an increasing number of people who get vaccinated, I hope we can get a trend that will continue to come down lower and lower. So there is light at the end of the tunnel, but it's going to be up to us." He said we all need to "step to the plate and make sure we implement universally those public health measures that the President himself and the Vice-President herself has spoken about. So cogently, it's up to us to do that."

RELATED: 7 Tips You Must Follow to Avoid COVID, Say Doctors

The South African Variant Can Reinfect You Even if You've Had COVID

Dr. Fauci warns that the new variants—from the U.K., South Africa and Brazil—will complicate efforts to contain the virus. "Well, the variants, for example, particularly the South African variant, is obviously here," he said. "We know that there have been a couple of cases in South Carolina and one in Maryland. It is certainly not the dominant strain, but if it becomes dominant, the experience of our colleagues in South Africa indicate that even if you've been infected with the original virus, that there is a very high rate of reinfection to the point where previous infection does not seem to protect you against re-infection—at least with the South African variant. That's the one that we know the most about when it comes to reinfection."

How to protect yourself? "Again, that gets to the point that we've said over and over again, Wolf, and I really want to emphasize it again: Vaccination is very important. We need to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as we possibly can. And when vaccine becomes available to individuals, please take the vaccine. Even there is a diminished protection against the variance. There's enough protection to prevent you from getting serious disease, including hospitalization and deaths. So vaccination is critical when it's available, get vaccines."

Of the vaccine distribution effort—so far frustrating for many people—he said: "You're going to see it's going to get better very quickly."

RELATED: If You Feel This, You May Have Already Had COVID, Says Dr. Fauci

How to Stay Safe During This Pandemic

The public health measures Fauci frequently espouses include:

  • Getting vaccinated as soon as it's available to you
  • Wearing a face mask
  • Staying socially distanced
  • Avoiding congregate settings
  • Spending more time outdoors than indoors, and
  • Washing your hands

So follow Fauci's fundamentals and help end this surge, no matter where you live—and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.