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Dr. Fauci Says Do This Now to Avoid New COVID Mutation

He warns the new mutation is "a virus that has a greater capability of spreading."
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek
Dr. Anthony Fauci

The reports are right out of a horror movie. The new, "more contagious" strain of COVID—first discovered in the United Kingdom—has appeared in Colorado and now California. The news comes the same week we've had more COVID deaths than ever, and after a disappointing vaccine rollout, in which only 3 million people have been administered the shot, far short of the projected 20 million by year's end. "How worried should we be?" Today Show host Craig Melvin asked Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, this morning. "And should we assume at this point that that mutated strain is likely already widespread in this country?" Read on to hear Fauci's answer, as well as how you can protect yourself—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus


Dr. Fauci Says the "More Contagious" Virus is Here—But It Doesn't Make You More Sick

Medical worker in protective suite taking a swab for corona virus test, potentially infected young woman

Fauci answered bluntly: "Well, it's here," he said. "No doubt. I mean, we predicted it would be when you have so much of it in the UK, which then spread to other countries in Europe and Canada, it was inevitable that it would be here. So you're going to be hearing about reports from other States and more cases in the States that have already reported. And unfortunately, that's just the reality of the way these viruses spread. Obviously you have to take it very seriously. Our British colleagues have shown clearly that it is much more efficient in spreading from person to person. The good news is that it does not appear to be more virulent, namely making people more sick and leading to more deaths. So that is a good thing. I mean, obviously we don't want to see a virus that has a greater capability of spreading." Keep reading to see how to protect yourself.


Dr. Fauci Says Get Vaccinated When You Can; It Works Against the New Mutation

Doctor in personal protective suit or PPE inject vaccine shot to stimulating immunity of woman patient at risk of coronavirus infection.

"The other thing that is an important and a favorable thing," Fauci continued, "It does not seem to evade the protection that's afforded by vaccines that are currently being used. But the fact that you have a virus that spreads more efficiently is something that's important and needs to be taken seriously. This just underscores the need to continue to put our foot to the floor in the pedal about making sure we do the public health measures that we talk about all the time." For those, keep reading.


Dr. Fauci Said Wear a Mask

woman adjusting a trendy textile face mask behind her ear.

You know you should but do you know why you must? "To understand the rationale for mask wearing to prevent SARS-CoV-2 transmission, it is helpful to understand how the virus spreads from person to person," Fauci wrote in a paper a few months back. "SARS-CoV-2 is primarily transmitted by respiratory droplets exhaled by infected individuals; these droplets span a spectrum of sizes. Larger droplets fall out of the air relatively quickly while close to the source, usually within a 6-foot distance. Smaller droplets, often referred to as aerosols, are also present at close range but may remain in the air over time and greater distances, decreasing in concentration as they move outward from their source." A mask prevents these droplets from getting into your body—and prevents you from spreading them.


Dr. Fauci Said We Must Physically Distance Ourselves

Shopper with mask standing in line to buy groceries due to coronavirus pandemic in grocery store

You just read about how COVID is "primarily transmitted by respiratory droplets." Remember that next time you're standing close to someone—and stay at least six week (or two meters) away.


Dr. Fauci Says Avoid Crowds

Happy bartender working at a bar wearing a face mask.

"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. 

RELATED: COVID Symptoms Usually Appear in This Order, Study Finds


How to Survive This Pandemic

Basic protective measures against new coronavirus. Wash hands, use medical mask and gloves. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Maintain social distancing. Wash your hands frequently

"Those are the kinds of things that will prevent this new strain from spreading even further," said Fauci. So 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.