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Dr. Fauci Says COVID is Still a Threat, "Be Alert"

Here’s the latest on the COVID pandemic.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, just appeared on CNN's At This Hour With Kate Bouldan moments ago to give the latest on the pandemic. Are you at risk? How can you stay safe? How do you know if COVID is spreading in your neck of the woods? Read on for 5 life-saving pieces of advice from Dr. Fauci—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.

1

Dr. Fauci Said We Need to Do Two Things to Determine the Severity of COVID

Portrait of doctor with face mask and clipboard looking at camera in hospital.
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Dr. Fauci said we need to do two things. "One, follow the data really, really carefully. There will always be a lag in hospitalizations, following an increase, a spike or a surge. However big it is, whether it's a blip, whether it's a surge, there will always be a delay in hospitalizations. And that's the reason why we've gotta be all over following whether or not we have an increase in hospitalization."

"Many of our colleagues in different countries, particularly in the UK, who have seen increases in cases go up dramatically, have not seen a substantial increase in hospitalizations that are related to people who are hospitalized because of COVID," he continued. "There certainly are hospitalizations that with COVID, but when you talk to their health authorities, they feel that the impact on hospitalizations is really disassociated a bit from what we saw, for example, with Delta, when the cases were much more in line with the hospitalization. So the bottom line cadence, we have to just follow it really, really closely."

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2

Determine Your Own Individual Risk When Protecting Yourself

Woman put on medical protective mask for protection against coronavirus.
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"The other thing that's important is that when you talk about guidelines from the CDC, which are not mandates, there are guidelines about what people should be doing—they're giving guidelines in the broad sense, but it's always up to the individual. And that means individual as a person, individual location cities, such as what the decision to do in Philadelphia, that that ultimate decision is that at the local level, the local level can be a city, a county or a person who says, even though I'm in a green zone, I want to feel a little bit more protected because I'm either elderly, I have an underlying condition. So people to need to understand that the judgment call with broad recommendations from the CDC is still at an individual basis."

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3

Dr. Fauci Said We are Undercounting COVID Cases; There is More Than You Think

Man self tests for COVID-19 home test kit.
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"I believe that there is undercounting, there has to be because all of us know that there are people…who've done a home test who don't feel particularly ill, maybe asymptomatic, maybe mildly symptomatic, who don't report it to anyone," Fauci said. "So I really do think that there's some degree of undercounting. I don't know exactly to what extent that is occurring." 

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4

So is COVID Still a Crisis?

Patient arriving at medical clinic and being called by the doctor using face mask.
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"90% Dr. Fauci say COVID is no longer a crisis. Do you agree?" Bouldan asked. "I don't want to get into semantics with you," said Dr. Fauci, "but it depends on what you mean by a crisis. Is this still something we really do need to pay attention to? The answer is overwhelmingly: Yes. We still have hospitalizations, still have cases. We still have deaths. This is not gonna go away completely, we're not gonna eradicate this the way we eradicated smallpox. And I doubt if we're gonna eliminate it for a number of reasons, because it isn't a stable virus. The way measles and polio is we get variants and up lineages and things that change. And the durability of protection be that protection from prior infection or protection from vaccines is not lifelong—it wanes. We know that. So what we need to do is to do as best as we can to get it as low a level as we possibly can get as many people vaccinated, as many people boosted and have the availability for those who do get infected to get antibody or antiviral or easy testing."

"In that case," he continued, "it certainly is not the quote crisis that we had when we were getting 900,000 cases a day and the hospitals were being stressed, but we're not at the level that I would feel comfortable to say, forget about it. We can get back to normality, which a lot of people are. There are people right now in the overwhelming majority of the locations in the country that are in green zones are getting back to normal life. They're not wearing masks indoors, the school, the bank. So there is a degree of normality there. So in that respect, you wouldn't call it a crisis, but you don't wanna forget about it because we know what variants can do. Remember we got fooled with Delta. Remember we got fooled with Omicron. So we've always gotta be alert to the fact that we are dealing with a challenge that is a moving target for us. So again, depends on what you mean by a crisis."

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5

Dr. Fauci Said This About Him Catching COVID

Doctor Anthony Fauci

Dr. Fauci doesn't know if he'll catch COVID; he hasn't yet. "I try my best because of my own situation in life. The fact that I am an older individual,  I don't want to be going into any public pronouncement of what any underlying conditions I may or may not have, but I'm gonna try my best to avoid it," he said. "There will always be some COVID in the community. Like I mentioned, we're not gonna eradicate it and I don't think we're gonna limit it. So it will be out there and I'm gonna have to make risk assessments. I'm vaccinated, I'm doubly boosted, and I'm not careless in what I do. Does that mean I'm not gonna get infected? No. I think everyone has some degree of risk. The risk is not zero for anyone, unless you lock yourself in a room and not come out and none of us are gonna be doing that. Certainly I'm not gonna be doing that. So I am at some risk, but I think I mitigate the risk as best as I possibly can." As for yourself, tto protect your life and the lives of others, be careful in the 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

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