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Dr. Fauci Issues Urgent Warning Over COVID

We need “very intensive adherence to the public health measures uniformly throughout the country with no exceptions.”
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek
Director Of Nat'l Institute of Allergy And Infectious Diseases Discusses Global Health Threats

America has now lost 350,000 of its citizens to COVID-19—or, as Meet the Press host Chuck Todd put it yesterday, "the equivalent of six to eight jumbo jets falling out of the sky on a daily basis." As a result, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is here with an urgent warning for every American.

"The deaths are real deaths," he said, batting away any talk of a hoax. "All you need to do is to go out into the trenches, go to the hospitals, to see what the healthcare workers are dealing with. They are under very stressed situations…People are running out of beds, running out of trained personnel who are exhausted right now. That's real. That's not fake. That's real." Read on to hear what he says you need to do to avoid dying from COVID-19—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus

Dr. Fauci Predicted Things Will Get Even Worse, With More Americans Dying

On Meet the Press, Fauci told Todd: "It could and likely will get worse in the next couple of weeks or at least maintain this very terribly high level of infections and deaths that we're seeing. And the reason is that, we're in that situation that we predicted a few weeks ago, as you get into the holiday season and people have done a considerable amount of traveling. There's been congregate settings where people innocently and understandably were gathering for social and family get togethers, against the advice of, of public health officials like myself, even though it's very difficult to do that when you have a family oriented season and then you have the cold weather, people doing things indoors much more than outdoors, and this is what happens," he said. "It's, it's terrible, it's unfortunate, but it was predictable that we were going to see the number of cases that we're seeing."

"Now, my concern is that it could get worse over the next couple of weeks" he said but "rather than sit back and throw up my hands and say, 'Oh my goodness, it's getting worse'—now we need to double down on some of the fundamental things that we talk about all the time, the uniform wearing of masks, the physical distancing and the avoiding of congregate settings in crowds, particularly indoors. We've just got to keep doing that."

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Dr. Fauci Says We Must Follow Those Public Health Guidelines "With No Exceptions"

Of the record deaths, hospitalizations and cases, Fauci spoke with Martha Raddatz ABC's This Week. "That's what happens when you're in a situation where you have surges related to so many factors—inconsistent adhering to the public health measures, the winter months coming in right now with the cold allowing people, or essentially forcing people, to do most of these things indoors as opposed to outdoors. And then the traveling associated with the holiday season is all of the ingredients that unfortunately make for a situation that is really terrible," he said. "I mean, to have 300,000 cases in a given day and between 2 and 3,000 deaths per day is just terrible," he continued. "I mean, it is. There's no running away from the numbers. It's something that we absolutely got to grasp and get our arms around and turn that inflection down by very intensive adherence to the public health measures uniformly throughout the country with no exceptions."

The vaccine, he has said before, is "not a substitute for the normal, standard public health measures of wearing a mask, keeping your distance, avoiding congregate crowded sections, and particularly indoors. It's not a substitute, it complements it."

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How You Can Survive This Pandemic

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.