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Dr. Fauci Just Issued This Big Warning For Us All

"You may allow a variant that we haven't even recognized yet to come along."

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is sounding an alarm. If you are not vaccinated, you are in danger. If you are vaccinated, there are risks also. And if we don't stop the virus from spreading, more mutations may develop—and they may be even worse than Delta. Fauci spoke with Katie Couric, and gave 10 essential pieces of advice that could save your life. some of them new. Read on for each one—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Have "Long" COVID and May Not Even Know It.


Dr. Fauci Warned This Delta Virus is Different Than the One Before—and More Formidable

Technician holding tube of blood test identified with the label Covid-19 DELTA Variant.

If you thought COVID was over or you just want to move on because you're tired of it, let this new Delta variant be a wake up call. "The virus that we're dealing with is a different virus than we were dealing with several months ago," Fauci told Couric. "And we just have to deal with the reality of that. It's a more formidable virus. It translates much more efficiently. And even individuals who are vaccinated, even though they are largely protected from serious disease, nonetheless can get infected and even transmit it."


Dr. Fauci Warned That More Variants May Come Unless More People Get Vaccinated

Doctor showing covid-19 tube test and sampling swab.

"I am worried more about a variant that we haven't even seen yet because the current Delta variant is so efficient in its ability to crowd out the other variants….they're not overtaking the Delta variant. So the one good thing is that the vaccines work quite well against the Delta variant in some respects, it's good that the Delta variant is not being outstripped by the others because we know we can deal with the Delta variant really quite well. My concern is that if we allow there to be smoldering infection into the fall and into the winter, because those 93 million people are not getting vaccinated for the most part, my concern would be, you may allow a variant that we haven't even recognized yet to come along. And in fact, be better at transmitting and more serious than the Delta. We haven't seen that yet. So rather than be worrying about these others that are around, let's make sure we don't let new ones come in."


Dr. Fauci Said Herd Immunity Is Possible But….

"Yes," herd immunity is possible, Fauci said, "but it won't happen unless we get a vast majority of the 93 million people who are still un-vaccinated, who are eligible to be vaccinated, unless we get them vaccinated, they are not going to contribute to the concept of herd immunity. So herd immunity, there's a concept of herd immunity, which means you have enough vaccinated people, plus people who were infected and protected so that the virus doesn't have any place to go. There aren't any vulnerable targets. We're not there yet. We don't know what the percentage is. Is that going to be 90% of the people who were still on vaccinated or is that going to be 85 or 80? We don't know when you don't know, you know what you do, you just get as many people vaccinated as you possibly can."


Dr. Fauci Said Young, Unvaccinated People Are in Danger


"A lot of doctors in hospitals nationwide are saying the population of patients they're seeing this go round is very different than the initial surges," said Couric. "They're younger, they're in their twenties and thirties, 'younger, sicker, quicker.' Do we know why? And is that in your view, convincing younger people to get vaccinated?"

"Well, in answer to your second question, I hope the realization that you're not exempt from getting either seriously ill with COVID-19 or even getting Long COVID after you recover, which is something that people should take seriously—namely, the persistence of symptoms," said Fauci. "One of the likely reasons there may be more than one. More young people being hospitalized is that, well, first you're dealing with a very transmissible virus. So everybody who's un-vaccinated is getting infected. The US is seeing more young versus older, because you 80% of the elderly population is already vaccinated. So there's a skewing that among the unvaccinated, relatively speaking, more of them are young. So it is not surprising that when you look at hospitalizations, you're seeing relative to the elderly, it looks like there are more young than are being hospitalized. That's very true because the elderly are more protected because more of them are vaccinated."


Dr. Fauci Said the Vaccines Prevent Serious Illness—but Vaccinated People Can Spread COVID

"The vaccine is doing exactly what we wanted it to do," Fauci clarified. "It's preventing people from getting seriously ill. That's the reason why you get vaccinated. However, this virus is so transmissible that it can infect, even though it's a small fraction, it can infect vaccinated people, almost invariably, in a way that they're either without symptoms or only mildly symptomatic. So it's less that it's going to make the vaccinated person sick. It's more that it's going to allow the vaccinated person to transmit it to someone else who might get sick, like a vulnerable person in the family, an elderly individual, a child who's un-vaccinated. So the issue with a person who is vaccinated, who gets infected the level of virus in the nasopharynx of that person is relatively equivalent to that of an unvaccinated person, which means there's a mechanism to say that that person very well might be able to transmit it. And in fact, we have documented cases where a vaccinated infected person did transmit."

One important note: "The level of virus in the nasopharynx of a person who's vaccinated and infected is the same level as the level of virus in the nasopharynx of an unvaccinated person. So you can make a reasonable assumption that they can be equivalent in how they transmit. However, there's one thing that works in favor of the vaccinated person. That level, though, it starts off the same as an uninfected person as an unvaccinated person, it decreases much more quickly," because of the vaccine.


Dr. Fauci Said He Would Not Have Gone to Lollapalooza

Our favorite song. Waist up portrait of young stylish people raising hands and smiling

Last weekend, almost 400,000 people went a Lollapalooza concert. It was outdoors and people needed to show proof of vaccination but "I was a bit taken aback by the film clips that I saw," he says. "There were a lot of people crowded around together, and given the fact that we know that vaccinated people can spread infection, and even though we know that outdoors is always safer than indoors, there was a really lot of crowded that we saw in those films. So I got a little bit concerned about that myself. I'm pretty risk averse. So I would, even though I'm vaccinated, I don't think I would go to a really massively crowded where you're essentially face-to-face with somebody. I would be concerned about that."


Dr. Fauci Said Vaccine Mandates Work

Nurse with face mask sitting at home with senior woman and injecting covid 19 vaccine.

"I do think that as a public health person, we should be putting more pressure on people to get vaccinated," said Dr. Fauci. "And I believe when the FDA comes through, hopefully within the next few weeks to make this an officially approved vaccines, plural, as opposed to just an EUA"—an emergency use authorization—"I hope that we will then have people feel much more empowered to do some kind of mandating. For example, universities and colleges saying you're not going to be able to come in person unless you get vaccinated. And I think large corporations will be doing the same thing."


Dr. Fauci Said We Should All Be Concerned About Kids

Child boy and girl playing outdoors with face mask protection. School boy breathing through medical mask

Couric said she was concerned for kids under 5 years old; they are too young to be vaccinated. "You should be concerned because everyone is susceptible," said Dr. Fauci. "Whether you're a child, an adult or an elderly person, if you're unvaccinated, you are susceptible. It is true that young children generally do not get as seriously involved with the severe form of COVID-19 when they're very, very young, but we are starting to see in real time that there are now young people who you would have expect will less likely—who are getting seriously ill. There have been close to 400, about 350 plus children who have died thus far from COVID-19. That's more than influenza in any given year. That's more than a respiratory syncytial virus on any given year."


Dr. Fauci Said He Does Not Foresee Lockdowns

woman wearing a face mask and peeking out from blinds

"I don't see lockdowns because there is substantial enough proportion of the population that it's fully vaccinated," said Dr. Fauci. "There are 70% of the adults who have at least a single dose, that it was accomplished a couple of days ago. And we have more than 80% of the elderly population that are vaccinated under those circumstances. You're still gonna have a lot of spread if we don't get that 93 million people who are eligible to be vaccinated vaccinated, but you won't have such a situation that would trigger a lockdown. I would be very surprised if that happens. What you will have is spread of infection predominantly among the unvaccinated. And you will see hospitalizations predominantly among the unvaccinated as we go through the fall and into the winter if we don't very aggressively get people vaccinated."


How to Stay Safe Out There

The female doctor syringe injection to the young patient put on a mask in the hospital

Follow Fauci's fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, 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.

Emilia Paluszek
Emilia specializes in human biology and psychology at the University at Albany. Read more about Emilia