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Dr. Fauci Says How to Avoid COVID Right Now

"People are dying because they're infected and they're sick and there are more infections,” he warned.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek
Dr. Anthony Fauci

Nearly 500,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, remains alarmed. "Those are real numbers," he says, and despite case levels going down, new, more transmissible forms of the virus may make things worse. "We can't be complacent about that because there are variants, namely mutations, that could in fact, turn it around again." Read on to see how you can avoid getting sick and dying—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus

1

Get Your Vaccine When It's Available to You—it's Safe, He Promises

Our batting average ranked from last month but that's the reality
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Dr. Fauci says the vaccine is safe and effective; don't be concerned that it was developed in under a year, he says. "It is historic," he admitted. "The sequence of the new virus was made public on the 9th of January of 2020. And in December of last year, the first doses went into the arms of people following a vaccine trial—plural—since there were two of them, that show the 94 to 95% efficacy under most circumstances of vaccinology, this would have taken several years to accomplish. And so people don't get the wrong impression: The speed did not sacrifice safety, nor did it sacrifice, scientific integrity. It was a reflection of the really breathtaking advances in the science of vaccine platform technology and the enormous amount of investment that was made to essentially manufactured doses of the vaccine."

2

Wear Your Mask—Even if You Have Been Vaccinated

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"You should wear a mask" even if you have gotten your vaccine, said Fauci. "And the reason is the primary endpoint for the vaccine efficacy was whether it prevented you from getting clinically recognizable disease. It certainly prevents you from getting severe disease. But what we don't know yet is whether it prevents you from getting asymptomatic infection. In other words, does the vaccine prevent you from actually getting the virus that replicates in your nasal pharynx? So since we don't know that yet it is recommended that you wear a mask." 

3

Avoid "Crowds in Congregate Settings, Particularly Indoors"

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"You want to stay away from places like bars where people congregate—and in some places you're even seeing authorities closing bars," Fauci has said in the past. But the same goes for groups of people—family or friends—indoors in homes. If you don't shelter with the person, don't let them in.

4

Observe "Physical Distancing"

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Even if wearing a mask, still stay six feet away. The CDC explains why clearly: "COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact (within about 6 feet) for a prolonged period. Spread happens when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks, and droplets from their mouth or nose are launched into the air and land in the mouths or noses of people nearby. The droplets can also be inhaled into the lungs."

5

You've Got to Follow These Measures at Least Until Fall

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"Until we get the overwhelming majority of people in the population, and I would imagine that would be about 70 to 85%—if we get them vaccinated, we'll get to a level of what we call herd immunity, which means that there'll be very little opportunity for the virus to circulate in the community," said Fauci. "When that occurs, then you could pull back a bit on the public health measures, but until that occurs, there's still going to be a lot of virus circulating in the community. And that's the reason why we continue to recommend strongly that people abide by the public health measures."

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

6

How to Survive This Pandemic

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As for yourself, follow Fauci's fundamentals and help end this surge, no matter where you live—wear a face mask, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, 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.