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Dr. Fauci Issues "Sobering" New Warning

Don’t let your guard down yet, says the infectious disease expert.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek
Doctor Anthony Fauci

After several months of increasing COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths, the numbers in the United States are finally starting to trend down. However, there are some numbers that are on the rise, and they are very concerning to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. During Monday's White House COVID-19 Response Team Briefing, he revealed a "sobering" warning to Americans. Read on to find out what it is—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus

The New Variants Are Rapidly Spreading, Says Dr. Fauci

Dr. Fauci is concerned by the increasing numbers of the new COVID variants. "What we're seeing now in our country is still a dominant, original wild type virus of which the vaccines are highly efficacious, 94 to 95%," he began. "The immediate concern that we have is that the fact that we have the 117 in certainly a considerable number of States reported with a number of people that modeling would tell us that it could become dominant by the end of March. That's the sobering news." 

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The Variants Will Likely Result in More Deaths

He also pointed out that currently, "we certainly don't have any data to indicate that it is mutating into a less virulent strain," meaning that it could be more deadly than the original.

"The initial data that came out from the UK about it having a degree of increased virulence that is still, I think something, I wouldn't say that's questionable, but I think that needs to be confirmed. But thus far, no evidence that it is less virulent. Sometimes when viruses mutate to spread more efficiently, they become less virulent, but we do not have any data to indicate that that is in fact, happening with SARS-COV2."

Furthermore, in addition to likely being more virulent, he pointed out that these new strains are more transmissible. "A virus is transmissible and virulent, and the degree of transmissibility and the degree of virulence can actually overlap." The result? "A virus that has a greater degree of transmissibility will be making more people sick. The more people that get sick, the more people that will be hospitalized. And the more people that are hospitalized you'll likely get more deaths," he pointed out. 

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There Is Good News, Says Dr. Fauci

"The encouraging news is that the vaccines that we're currently distributing right now are quite effective against that particular variant"—the one originating in the UK— but "less so against the South African." However, "hopefully we will get the virus under much better control by the time there's any indication that that might become dominant," he continued. "So again, it gets back to vaccinating as many people as you possibly can and implementing the public health measures."

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Do Your Part

So follow Fauci's fundamentals and help end this surge, no matter where you live—wear a face mask, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, 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.