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Virus Expert Just Issued Essential Warning

The Delta Variant is rising among the unvaccinated. Take cover.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek
Scott Gottlieb

Even if you got your COVID-19 vaccine, you need to hear this: The new Delta variant of the virus, which is more dangerous and "more transmissible," is here in the USA and will soon account for rising cases, especially in certain parts of the country. In response, Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb appeared on Face the Nation today to deliver 5 essential pieces of advice that could save your life. Read on for all 5, including which parts of the USA are "more vulnerable"—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Have "Long" COVID and May Not Even Know It.


Virus Expert Warned These Parts of the USA Are "More Vulnerable"

A New Hampshire farmer sits on his tractor

If you live in an area where people are refusing vaccines, or have refused one yourself, consider yourself warned. "We have a population that also has a lot of immunity in it through both vaccination and prior infection, but there are social compartments in the U.S.—both geographic and social compartments—where you have under-vaccination and you don't have a lot of immunity in the population," said Gottlieb. He said that "particularly in rural parts in the South, you're seeing what's happening in Missouri right now, where about 60% of the infections are the Delta variant. And so that's a reflection of the fact that you have parts of the United States where we don't have a lot of vaccination. And we also don't have a lot of prior infection, and those are going to be the more vulnerable parts of this country."


What You Should Expect From the Delta Rise

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The spikes will be different than last year. "It's not going to be as pervasive," said Gottlieb. "We're going to see pockets of the country. It's going to be hyper-regionalized, but there's certain pockets of the country [where] we can have very dense outbreaks," he warned. "And if you remember back in the fall, when we had that epidemic in the Midwest, that really started the national epidemic, it occurred in states like Wisconsin—Wisconsin lit up first, if you looked at what was happening, there was in rural communities where you saw the very dense outbreak, and then it started to spread out from there. I think as you look across the United States, if you're a community that has low vaccination rates, and you also think that there's low immunity from prior infection, so the virus really hasn't coursed through the local population—those communities are vulnerable. So I think Governors need to be thinking about how they build out healthcare resources in areas of the country, where you still have a lot of vulnerability." 


The USA Situation Might Soon Resemble the Rising Cases in the UK

Ambulance at Piccadilly Circus at night

The UK has had a spike in cases and delayed it's reopening due to the Delta variant. "We're probably about a month or two behind the UK in terms of their experience with their variant," said Gottlieb. "They're seeing cases grow there. It's certainly not taking off at the same velocity that we've seen in past epidemics." Dr. Gottlieb says the Delta variant is infecting mostly unvaccinated people. "So they've had about 90,000 cases. They've had about a thousand hospitalizations. The vast majority are in people who are unvaccinated—only 8% of people who've been fully vaccinated are among the hospitalized patients. And so you have a situation where you have a population that has more immunity, not just through vaccination, but also through a prior infection. So it's not having the same impact in terms of causing severe death and death and disease as it was during the last epidemic."


Virus Expert Warned of Symptoms of COVID That May Never Go Away

Woman experiencing stomach pain on the sofa at home

Before Gottlieb spoke, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson pleaded that people get vaccinated. Only 50% of his state was. How to convince more people to get vaccinated? "Well, there's certainly the benefits of vaccination in terms of just avoiding disease," said Gottlieb. "And we know that this can be a severe disease. We also know that there's more long term sequelae from having COVID—there's more long term consequences. There was a study out of Norway just recently that looked at people who recovered from COVID and found that at six months, about 60% of people reported persistent symptoms, 37% reported problems with fatigue, 24% reported problems with memory. And what was startling about this study is it also showed that in younger populations and people 16- to 30-years old, about 50% also reported persistent symptoms. And in fact, the loss of smell, taste and smell was most persistent in the younger population. So COVID, isn't just an immediate illness. It's having sustained consequences."

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Virus Expert Said New Vaccine Solutions Were Needed

Woman getting COVID-19 vaccine shot.

Gottlieb praised "bespoke" vaccination efforts, like delivering them to people's homes. Get yours any way you can, and follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—wear a face mask that fits snugly and is double layered, 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, 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.

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