Dr. Fauci Issues Latest COVID Warning
The coronavirus outbreak continues, with vaccines slowing the spread among some people, but not enough people are vaccinated to stop it completely. Will this go on forever and ever—and how can you stay safe? Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, spoke with WTOP and revealed a few key ways you can stay safe now, as well as some warnings. Read on for 8 essential 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 Despite Breakthrough Infections, Most Hospitalized People are Unvaccinated
Dr. Fauci said if you're vaccinated, you should not be as concerned as we were when we didn't have vaccines available. "It's a world of difference. It's just like night and day," he said. "If you look at the people who get seriously ill and look at the deaths associated it's 90-plus percent is way heavily weighted towards the un-vaccinated. There are breakthrough infections in people who were vaccinated. That's understandable. No vaccine is 100% protective, but if you look at the people who do get breakthrough infections who have been vaccinated, generally, not always, but mostly they get mild disease or even asymptomatic disease. So the one thing that vaccination does, it protects you against infection. And when, and if you do get infection, it protects you against severe disease. So the advantage of vaccines, even in the arena of the Delta variant is overwhelmingly beneficial."
Dr. Fauci Said We Will Likely Never Get Rid of COVID Completely, so Get Vaccinated
Will we always be living with COVID, asked the host? "We still always want to get the people to not get the virus," answered Fauci. "If you mean as a society, having to live with the virus, it is unlikely that we are going to eradicate this virus in the sense of getting it off the planet. We only have eradicated one virus in the history of public health, and that is the smallpox virus, but we've eliminated viruses like polio and measles in this country. We haven't eliminated it from the world, but in this country. So we would hope if you look at what you can do with a virus, you can either eradicate it, you can eliminate it, or you can control it. Well, we would like to do at a minimum is to very strongly control it so that if it is around, it's only a very unusual infection in the community for people who might get a breakthrough infection or people who are not vaccinated. We'd like to get a hundred percent of the people vaccinated, but that's never been done with anything. So that's not gonna happen. However, we can do close to that. If we can get very, very good control, we might even after a while be able to eliminate it. I don't see that happening in the next year or so, but it is possible that if we mount a very good vaccine program that we might be able to deliver."
Dr. Fauci Said We're Getting Closer to Herd Immunity
The host asked "we've seen 170 million people in the U.S. according to the CDC with the vaccine 41 million people have had the virus. Are we getting any closer to that herd immunity with those two factors in play?" "Well, we're getting closer," answered Fauci, "but we certainly are not there yet, because you said we have 171 million people vaccinated. We also have about 73 or 4 million people who are eligible to be vaccinated who have not yet gotten vaccinated. So that's what we have to do. We've got to get those unvaccinated people vaccinated for sure."
Dr. Fauci Said This is the End Game
Herd immunity "is certainly the aspirational goal," said Fauci. "We don't know what that number is. I mean, herd immunity will be a combination of the people who were vaccinated and protected, and those who've been infected and have durable protection and immunity following their infection. You put those two together. And when you have a highly transmissible disease, the number of both of those together generally is very high. For example, with measles, which is a very transmissible virus, perhaps the most transmissible viruses that we deal with when you're dealing with measles, you need well over 90% of the population to be vaccinated before you can actually feel that you have true herd immunity. So it is conceivable that we may need that amount for individuals, with regard to COVID-19. We hope when you add up the vaccinated people, plus the protected people from infection, that'll be close enough to that number to protect us all and give us truly herd immunity."
Dr. Fauci Said if You Have Been Infected with COVID, You Still Need a Vaccine
"If you've been infected and you recover from the infection," said Dr. Fauci, "you are certainly going to have a degree of protection. There's no doubt about that. What we don't know very well is what the durability of that is and how long that lasts. But I think it would be important to admit it's true that you will have some protection and could be really good protection for awhile following infection. We do know that when you give someone a vaccination after they've recovered from infection and superimpose that upon their natural acquired immunity, you can dramatically increase the level of protection. So there are a couple of facts that people sometimes get confused. A, if you've been infected, you will have a good degree of immunity following infection B, We don't know how long that lasts and see if you give someone a vaccine after they've recovered from a natural infection, you could dramatically increase their level of protection."
Dr. Fauci Said These are the People Most Likely to Be Hospitalized
"If at any given time you go to a hospital with people who have been hospitalized for COVID-19 the overwhelming majority. well over 90% of them, are individuals who are unvaccinated," said Dr. Fauci. Not to mention: "The Delta variant is spreading very, very rapidly among everyone, including children. So what we're seeing naturally is an increase in the number of infections among children. And that's just a reflection of the fact that this Delta variant spreads more readily among everyone. And that includes children."
Dr. Fauci Said This About Outdoor Events
Dr. Fauci was asked about outdoor events, like sports and concerts. "Well, many of the events now are requiring people to be vaccinated, or a recent test to get in," said Dr. Fauci. "I think that's a good idea because that really enhances the safety of going to these events. Particularly if they're outdoors, if you get vaccinated people or people who have been recently tested, I think that situation would be quite safe. So hopefully we'll see a lot more sports activities resuming."
How to Stay Safe Out There
Follow Fauci's fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated 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.