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Dr. Fauci Just Issued This Omicron Update

If you look at vaccinated versus unvaccinated, there's a 17 times greater chance of being hospitalized…."
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

The latest, and largest, coronavirus surge has alarmed the world, as conflicting information—the variant Omicron is both more transmissible but possibly "less severe"—has led to confusion. Who is safe and who isn't? To answer that question with data, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testified before the Senate this morning. Read on for five life-saving pieces of advice—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Dr. Fauci Said Being Unvaccinated Makes You 17X More Likely to Be Hospitalized From COVID

Emergency medic and doctor moving patient to emergency room in hospital

You've been told vaccinations will protect you against COVID—President Biden has even recently called this a "pandemic of the unvaccinated"—yet even those who are vaccinated are catching Omicron. So what gives? Is the COVID vaccine critical in preventing hospitalizations and death, but is it less effective against the variant?" "There's no doubt that the Omicron variant, when you look at the protection against symptomatic disease and asymptomatic infection, dramatically goes down to about 30%," said Dr. Fauci. "What maintains itself, it goes up to about 70% against severe disease. When you boost, what happens is you get a rather significant reconstitution of the protection, particularly against hospitalization. … If you look at vaccinated versus unvaccinated, there's a 17 times greater chance of being hospitalized and a 20 times greater chance of dying if you are unvaccinated versus vaccinated." 

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Dr. Fauci Said if You are Unvaccinated, You Have a 10X Chance of Being Infected

Sick woman laying in bed under wool blanket holding thermometer and tissue. Ill girl caught cold flu. Pills and tablets on table.

"Look at people who are in the hospital and take a look at if you are vaccinated versus unvaccinated. And if you look at vaccinated versus unvaccinated, there's about a 10 times greater chance that you'd be infected if you were unvaccinated about a 17 times greater chance that you'd be hospitalized if you were unvaccinated and about a 20 times likelihood that you would be dead if you were unvaccinated. So when you look at every parameter, 10 times, 17 times, 20 times infection, hospitalization, death…."

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Dr. Fauci Said Booster Shots are Needed to Improve your Immunity

Doctor holding syringe, medical injection in hand with glove.

Dr. Fauci reiterated the "importance of booster shots to enhance immunity against the Delta variant that wanes over time. Indeed booster shots have dramatically reconstituted the waning immunity and has increased protection over and above the original level afforded by the primary vaccine regimen. Today, we have faced with a different challenge, a new variant called Omicron that is rapidly spread throughout the world, including a massive unprecedented surge in the United States. This variant possesses a large number of mutations that are associated with an increased efficiency of transmission immune evasion from certain monoclonal antibodies, convalescent, plasma, and antibodies induced by our and vaccines. Thus far data … have indicated that vaccine-induced antibodies lose a considerable amount of potency in neutralizing the Omnicon variant. Although this is of obvious concern, the encouraging news is that a third shot boost of an mRNA vaccine significantly reconstitutes and enhances the ability of antibodies from boosted individuals to neutralize the Omicron variant strongly suggesting that boosters will play a major role in protecting our population, at least from severe disease in the context of the ongoing massive surge of the Omicron variant, that we are currently experiencing underscoring, why it is so important for the unvaccinated to get vaccinated. And for those who are already vaccinated to obtain the booster shot."

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CDC Director Added That Things May Keep Changing

Scientists and microbiologists with PPE suit and face mask hold test tube and microscope in lab

CDC Chief Dr. Rochelle Walensky, who also testified, noted that things change as the virus changes. "Omicron is likely not to be the last curve ball this virus throws at us," she said, "but we have the tools to prevent for the spread of this virus. This means for everyone, five and older, please get vaccinated for those 12 and older, get your booster shot, and please continue to adhere to the multi-layered prevention measures, including masking and yes, washing your hands." 

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How to Stay Safe Out There


Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated or boosted ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, 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.

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