Dr. Fauci Just Shared the Best News Yet
Is the COVID-19 pandemic actually nearing the end here in America? If anyone would know, it would be Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. In an interview with Yasmeen Abutaleb, a health policy reporter with The Washington Post, for a Washington Post Live event, the expert shared 8 insights that every American should read. So read on—and to make sure you're feeling OK, don't miss our special report: Sure Signs COVID's Affecting Your Body Even After Vaccination.
Dr. Fauci Said He Predicts These Will Be No New Surge in the USA
Dr. Fauci was asked about " a concern about a resurgence in the latter part of the year as the weather gets colder? And how much of this hinges upon what our understanding is of how long these vaccines are effective?"
"Well, I don't think we should be that concerned right now about how long they're effective," said Dr. Fauci. "I think they will be effective long enough that we will get to the point where we are not going to be necessarily worrying about a surge. Let me explain what I mean. The positive wild card in all of this that we didn't have during the previous three surges that our country has experienced, the most profound of which was one at the late fall and early winter of the 2020-2021, where we had cases as high as 300,000 per day and deaths up to 3- to almost 4,000 per day, that was at a point when virtually no one in the country was vaccinated. If we get to the president's goal, which I believe we will attain, of getting 70 percent of the people getting at least one dose, adults, that is, by July 4th, there will be enough protection in the community that I really don't foresee that there being the risk of a surge, provided we continue to get people vaccinated at the rate we have now." Keep reading for the other key insights.
But Dr. Fauci Warned We Don't Declare Victory Just Yet
"Of course, there are several things that are uncertain when you're dealing with a pandemic," said Dr. Fauci. "One thing that is quite certain is that when you have a vaccine or a group of vaccines that are as highly effective in the real world—and those data were very clear—highly effective as these vaccines are and you get a substantial proportion of the population vaccinated, the chances of there being a surge are extraordinarily low. I mean quite, quite low. You don't want to declare victory prematurely, and it's for that reason why we're continuing to put the push on of getting as many people vaccinated as we possibly can."
Dr. Fauci Said the Vaccine May Not Be As Effective
"There are primary immunodeficiencies," said Dr. Fauci, when asked for whom the vaccine might not offer adequate protection. "There are a number of individuals who, congenital or otherwise, have primary immunodeficiencies. For the most part, a weakened immune system is either primary, due to an infection as in HIV/AIDS, or iatrogenically induced. Namely, in order to treat another disease out of necessity, you have to immunosuppress individuals. There are a considerable number of people like that in the country, and those are the people you have to pay special attention and the kinds of recommendations that we've heard from the CDC about what people who are fully vaccinated can and cannot do might not apply directly to the people who are immunosuppressed. Again, that's why I say although we try to get broad guidelines and recommendations, often one size does not fit all."
Dr. Fauci Said the CDC's New Mask Rules are Not One Size Fits All
The CDC said if you're vaccinated, it's OK to go mask free indoors and outdoors. "There are caveats associated with that," said Dr. Fauci. "Not everyone is equally protected when it comes to vaccines particularly individuals such as those who are immunosuppressed. One of the things that I've mentioned in prior interviews and conversations is that I believe the, perhaps understandable, misunderstanding about the guidelines from the CDC which says that if you are fully vaccinated that you should feel protected and you'd be able to have a high, high degree of effectiveness in avoiding infection not only outdoors without a mask but also indoors without a mask. Somehow or other, it was interpreted by some as meaning no longer do masks be needed for anybody, which is absolutely not the case because the CDC was only speaking of those individuals who are fully vaccinated."
Dr. Fauci Shared This Important Info About the Vaccine Booster Shot
"We don't really know when we may need a booster," said Dr. Fauci. "I mean, we're making extrapolations saying that if the level of protection at the correlative immunity starts to wane and come down to below or at a critical level and you may start to see more breakthrough infections, at that point, that would be the trigger. But I really don't think it's accurate to say that we will need boosters X number of months from now. We may not need it for quite a while. We are preparing for the eventuality that we might need boosters, but I think we better be careful not to let the people know that inevitably X number of months from now, everyone is going to need a booster. That's just not the case."
Dr. Fauci Said Doctors Will Determine For How Long the Vaccine May Be Effective
Dr. Fauci does not think "doctors are going to come in and say, 'Okay. I'm going to measure your antibody and tell you you're okay,'" said Dr. Fauci about how long the vaccine lasts. "It's going to be more as a cohort where it will be said, in general, people who have gotten this vaccine have a degree of protection that lasts X amount of time, and we don't know what that is. Practically speaking, if you wanted to go into your physician's office and say, 'Could you send out an assay of the level of my antibody?' I guess you could do that and say, 'Well, it's still very high. I'm okay,' but I don't really see that of tens of thousands of people going in to get their level. I just see more of a broad general guideline than individual people doing that."
Dr. Fauci Said Here's Where the Virus Could Still Spread in America
Abutaleb asked "what will our new normal start to look like, and is there a risk of a tiered recovery if you have regions of the country with very high vaccination rates and others with much lower ones?" "Yes," said Dr. Fauci. "That's one of the issues when you're dealing with a large, wonderful country that we have, but a large heterogeneous country, where you're going to see certain states, certain regions, certain cities that have a much lower level of vaccine. Unfortunately, what likely would happen is that you're going to see a much higher risk of outbreaks of some sort or of sustained level of infection in those areas that are not fully vaccinated or at least not vaccinated to a high percentage. When the president said 70 percent of the adult population to have at least one dose by July 4th, he was talking about the overall country. You may have certain cities, certain towns, certain counties where you have a much higher percentage, and then there are going to be those which are going to be lower."
Dr. Fauci Said He Was Watching the COVID Variant from India But Did Not Seem Worried
The India coronavirus variant is spreading in the U.K. Are our vaccines effective against it? "There have been a number of studies literally published over the last week or so which have looked at antibodies induced by several of the vaccines that we are currently using, particularly the Moderna mRNA and the Pfizer RNA, and as we had seen with the 351 variant in South Africa, that the efficacy of the vaccine-induced antibodies is diminished somewhat by a fewfold but not enough to essentially obliterate the efficacy of the vaccine," said Dr. Fauci. "You would project on the basis of the extrapolation of the level of antibodies that are required for protection and how much you diminish it when you're dealing, for example, with the 617 Indian variant. It is projected that we would have adequate protection against that, maybe not against initial infection but almost certainly protection against severe disease leading to hospitalization and deaths." So get vaccinated—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss This Supplement Can Raise Your Cancer Risk, Experts Say.