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Virus Expert Warns We're in For a "World of Trouble"

"We are in for a world of trouble I'm afraid in the next month or two." 
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

The coronavirus alarm is at a new high, as cases surge, fueled by an exponentially increasing new variant called Omicron. NFL games are being rescheduled. Broadway shows are shuttering. Saturday Night Live had no audience. How can you stay safe, especially this holiday season? Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, appeared on Fox News Sunday with a very concerning warning. Read on for five points that can save your life—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Virus Expert Warns We in For a "World of Trouble"

Worried nurse sitting in hospital corridor

Omicron is presenting "a very serious challenge," said Collins. "This variant with its 57 mutations is certainly a difficult one for us to cope with because it is so contagious—more than Delta, more than Alpha, Beta, all of the other previous variants pale by comparison in terms of the rate at which this one is spreading, doubling every two to three days first in South Africa, now in parts of Europe and the US is on that exponential curve right now," he continued. "So we are in for a world of trouble I'm afraid in the next month or two." Keep reading to see what he says to do about it.


Virus Expert Says Here's What to Do

Nurse holding syringe

"There are things people can do," said Collins. "And I hope we can talk about that because this is not one of those situations where we're just hell hopelessly facing the oncoming virus. We have things we can do, and especially those are vaccines and boosters and being careful about masking again. And I know people are sick of hearing this, but the virus is not sick of us. It's thrown us a new curve ball and we gotta be ready to hit it."

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Virus Expert Says "Our Health Systems Will be Overwhelmed"


"I have seen data as recently as yesterday from South Africa. And let me just say the South African scientists have been incredibly transparent about everything they know. And what I saw yesterday does seem to indicate that in South Africa, there is less hospitalization and the people are getting hospitalized," said Collins of Omicron. "They're less likely to be in the ICU, but remember, that's a different population. That's generally younger. Most people in South Africa already had Delta. So they have some immunity from that. They don't have boosters there. So we have that on our side. Just think we gotta be careful not to extrapolate from what we've seen, but I'm hopeful that that is an, that while incredibly contagious, this virus is maybe a bit less likely to make people really sick. And obviously that's something we gotta hope for. Our health systems are gonna be overwhelmed."

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Virus Expert Says Vaccines Will Reduce the Severity of your COVID Illness

Female doctor or nurse giving shot or vaccine to a patient's shoulder

"While vaccination does not prevent the possibility of a breakthrough, it greatly reduces it—that it certainly has for Delta and for Omicron, if you've had two doses of Pfizer and Moderna, you are somewhat protected against the breakthrough infection," said Collins. "If you have a booster you're much better protected up there around the sort of 85 to 90% rate. So their vaccinations are going to be very much part of our solution here, and everybody should take advantage of them, but they're not perfect. This is where I get upset. Because people point to anecdotes of somebody who got sick, even though they had been vaccinated and said they are, you see it doesn't work. That's way too simplistic. If you've gotten sick after vaccination, the chances are you're gonna have a pretty mild case. You'll have the sniffles maybe or sick for a day or two with a fever, but you won't be in the ICU. The vaccinations are really good at protecting against some severe disease. We should all take advantage of them. And it's gotta be really, really frustrating in this country with all of its technological advance that we still have about 50 million people who haven't even gotten started on vaccinations. Yeah. How did that happen? How do we get all this? So mixed up with social media, misinformation and political insertion into the discussion."

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Virus Expert Says Let's Come Together Finally to Stop This Virus Once and for All

woman wearing two medical masks at the same time.

COVID "is the enemy we in this country have somehow gotten all fractured into a hyper-polarized politicized view that never should have been mixed with public health. It's been ruinous and history will judge harshly those people who have continued to defocus the effort and focus on conspiracies and things that are demonstrably false " said Collins. "Shame on all of us that we've gotten into this kind of pickle. We could still turn this around, but you know, it's Christmas. So let's think about that. Let's think about how our weary world could maybe start rejoicing because we have a gift coming to us on Christmas day. That ought to be better than any of the things we're talking about right now. But boy, do we need to get together? Yeah." So come together to get vaccinated or boosted 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.


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