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If This Sounds Like You, You're At Risk of COVID, Says Dr. Fauci

We’re not out of the woods yet, says the infectious disease specialist.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

With the coronavirus mutating into several variants—including the "more transmissible" Delta variant—it's clear the COVID-19 pandemic is not over. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, spoke with YouTube's Dr. Mike Varshavski, aka Doctor Mike, about why it's too soon to declare victory, even though it feels like things are getting back to normal. Read on for 5 tips that could save your life of the life of someone you know—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 That Cases Could Rise Again

Female and male doctors wearing masks and uniforms are visiting to check the symptoms of middle-aged female patients lying in bed.

"I think it's very positive," Dr. Fauci said when asked about our progress to far, "but one of the things that we get concerned about is declaring victory prematurely. Because even though if you look at all of the parameters, particularly most recently over the last month or two, is that the seven day average of daily cases continues to come down and down. One of the issues with that is if we see the numbers go down and people say, well, then why should I get vaccinated? Everything seems to be going well—that's a mistake. If you don't really get the level down very, very low is always the concern and the real concern, not just theoretical, that you could start getting more infections. At least in this country, we're in a very fortunate situation that we have enough vaccines to vaccinate everybody. When you look at other countries where they're literally and figuratively dying to get vaccinated, because they don't have enough vaccines. I mean, take India has two to 3% of their population is fully vaccinated. And about 11 to 12% have received at least one dose. I mean, that is not good."


Dr. Fauci Has This to Say to Anyone Who Has Not Gotten Vaccinated

Patient refuses to take vaccination.

"First of all, you don't want to be pointing a finger at them or making them feel guilty," he said. "You want to try and explain to them why it's important for them to get vaccinated by giving them two things, giving them all the facts that they need to answer. Any questions that they have. Was it too quick? No, we have an answer to that. That's it's the culmination of decades of research that got us there. Wasn't the 11 months from January to December, then they ask, well, did you test it enough? I want to wait and see. Well, hundreds and millions of people have gotten the vaccine now. So we're past the time of let's wait and see. The other thing is to make it extraordinarily easy for somebody to get, because there's some times is a combination of hesitancy and what they consider inconvenience. Remember back early on, people were trying to negotiate computers and getting an appointment. And this one, a group, one B one seat that's, that's gone now right now, the way it is, it's extraordinarily easy to get a vaccine. You got 40,000 pharmacies that can do it. You have pharmacies where you don't even need to call up and make an appointment. You just walk in and say, I want to get vaccinated. You have community vaccine centers, you have mobile units. It's very easy to get vaccinated right now."


Dr. Fauci Warned That Variants Would Keep Developing

Scientist in laboratory studying and analyzing scientific sample of Coronavirus monoclonal antibodies to produce drug treatment for COVID-19.

Dr. Fauci said he was trying to get a good handle on what the right approach would be with the variants "because we are going to continue to see variants until the rest of the world is essentially well controlled, which it won't be for a couple of years, even if we push to get people that we want to get the rest of the world vaccinated as quickly as possible. And I believe we have, you know, a moral responsibility to do that. Not only because we're a country that has resources, but other of the rich country should do that. But it's also when our own self-interest because when you have a lot of dynamics of viral replication in whatever country in the world, it will generate variants. And when it does sooner or later, because of the interconnectivity in the world, we're going to see variants here. But one of the things that we're, we really want to nail down, but it looks, as I mentioned, it looks pretty good that if you get a high level of immunity against the original virus, it does spill over to protection against several of the variants."

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Dr. Fauci Said He Feels More Confident in the Vaccine Now Than in December

Moderna and Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine

"In December, 2020, we had the results of the clinical trials, which were very impressive, you know, 94%, 95%," said Dr. Fauci, "but often is the case, is that when you get into the real world of how the vaccine performs outside of the pristine conditions of the clinical trials, it doesn't usually look as good as it looks in the clinical trials. On the contrary, we're seeing the opposite. Now we're seeing that when you get data, not only from the United States, I mean, when I say data, I'm talking about hundreds of thousands of people being followed up in prospective cohort studies, the data are at least as good, if not even better—not only against what we call the wild type virus, namely the one that's the standard one, but when variants appear, the vaccine seems to do quite well against them also. So it really is very good news."


Dr. Fauci Said Herd Immunity Isn't Just a Number

A woman displays her vaccination card and the

When it comes to herd immunity: "We don't know what the threshold of herd immunity is," says Dr. Fauci. "We know what it is for measles. We're estimating that it's somewhere between 70 and 85% for" coronavirus. "But we don't know for sure when you don't know for sure, the thing to do is just forge ahead, just get as many people vaccinated as you possibly can. And when you get that level of protection, that turns out to be the threshold of herd immunity. You'll know it because you'll see the infections almost disappear when you get it to that level." And to get through life at your healthiest, don't miss these First Signs You Have a Serious Illness.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more