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Dr. Fauci Warns We Might Get a Fourth Wave of COVID

Unless we all take these precautions.
FACT CHECKED BY Alek Korab
Doctor Anthony Fauci

The U.S might face a fourth wave of COVID-19 infections unless certain precautions are taken now, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, on MSNBC's All In With Chris Hayes Tuesday night.

Although new cases of COVID-19 are dropping—the country's seven-day average has declined steadily since early January—Fauci said it's too soon to say that widespread immunity to the novel coronavirus has been achieved. "I don't think there's enough people in any given location have been infected enough to say herd immunity has come in," said Fauci. "I don't think we're there yet." Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.

"One of the wild cards"

The country has experienced previous peaks and declines of COVID-19 cases since the coronavirus was discovered 13 months ago. Hayes asked Fauci if the U.S. should brace itself for a "fourth wave" of COVID. "I think if we doubled down uniformly and consistently with the public health measures at the same time as we phase in increasing numbers of people getting vaccinated, we shouldn't see that," said Fauci.

However, Fauci called the recently discovered mutations of COVID-19 "one of the wild cards."

"We have to keep an eye on mutations," said Fauci. "If they become dominant, that then could lead to another surge." 

RELATED: Dr. Fauci Just Said When We'd Get Back to Normal

Experts have expressed concerns about mutated forms of the virus that seem to have originated in the United Kingdom, Brazil and South Africa; all three have been identified in the United States. They may be more transmissible and deadly than the original strain of COVID-19, and may, at least to some extent, elude the immunity provided by previous infection or the current coronavirus vaccines. 

"The best way to prevent them from becoming dominant is to double down on public health measures … masking, distance, avoiding congregate settings, et cetera," said Fauci. At the same time, he added, as many people should get vaccinated against COVID as possible. 

"We should continue to keep our eye out on the mutations," he reiterated, "because if they become dominant, then it could be a problem."

How to survive this pandemic

As for yourself, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Wear a face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

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