COVID is rising too much and too fast: Alabama just announced their ICUs are full, the Governor of Texas is infected and kids in every state—each of them under 10 unvaccinated—are headed back to school. Meanwhile, the Delta variant remains “a very formidable virus,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told South Florida PBS. He revealed how to stay safe given this “new ballgame.” Read on for 5 life-saving pieces of information—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.
“Delta is really a very formidable virus,” said Dr. Fauci, “in that it has the capability of transmitting much more efficiently than the original prototype virus that we have confronted with early on in the outbreak. You’re dealing with a much more formidable virus in the sense of transmissibility. Also, it has the very interesting capability that when you get infected—the amount of virus that’s in your nasopharynx with the Delta variant, compared to the amount of virus that would be in the nasopharynx of the other variants that we had faced previously, is up to a thousand times more, which really is the mechanistic explanation of why it so readily transmits.”
“Breakthrough infection is something that is to be expected because no vaccine is 100% protective,” said Dr. Fauci. “And the vaccine trials that were done…showing that they were 94 to 95% protective, that was protective against clinically apparent disease and not necessarily against infection, which for the most part, even if you had a subclinical infection that didn’t make you symptomatic at all, there was very little chance previous to might transmit the infection. If you were vaccinated, had a breakthrough infection because the level of virus would be so low in your nasopharynx. But this virus is so efficient and transmitted that even if you were a vaccinated person and you get an infection…you may transmit it to someone else, even though you don’t have very many symptoms. So that is an extra important wrinkle in this.” That’s why the CDC recommended masks for even vaccinated people in high transmission areas. “It sounds like things change with regard to recommendations. That’s only because the virus itself is changing.”
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“The Delta variant is highly, highly transmissible,” said Fauci. “We’ve seen that in adults, and we’ve seen that in children and the more children that get infected purely from a quantitative standpoint, even though it is true that children have a less of a chance of getting severe disease, then does an adult or someone with an underlying condition, but…we are seeing more and more children, literally on a quantitative basis requiring hospitalization and getting serious illness. And for that reason, we want to do the following. First, when you think in terms of school, we want to make sure we surround the children by people who are vaccinated, who are eligible to be vaccinated teachers, personnel, who are involved in the school system for those children, 12 years old and older, who are eligible to be vaccinated. We want to encourage them very strongly to get vaccinated for those children who not yet are eligible. And the studies are being done to determine if it is safe to do that and the kind of response and what dose they should get. That’s the reason why we want to make sure we get people masked in school system to protect the children and to allow them to safely get back to an in-person learning, because we know of the deleterious effects of keeping children physically out of school, mental health, developmental issues….”
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Booster shots will be available to high-risk people on September 20th, and then other people. “If you’ve had a two shot regimen, essentially for everyone, but particularly concentrating temporally and getting it rolled out with the people who originally got the shots earlier, the healthcare providers, the elderly, those in nursing homes. And the reason that plan is being implemented is because we want to stay ahead of the curve. You know, we use that analogy that Wayne Gretzky used to say, you want to skate where the puck is going to be, not where the puck is. So we’re want to anticipate that. If in fact, we do see a diminution of protection against hospitalization and or serious illness that could lead to death, we want to be prepared to give the extra level of protection with a boost to people so that you can increase dramatically their immune response.”
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As for boosters, “it’s important because you give the immune system a chance to mature and make it more amenable to getting that extra kick from a boost that you could increase protection really much, much better,” said Dr. Fauci. When you think in terms of antibody responses and other measurable immune responses, that’s the rationale for planning and implementing ultimately the capability of giving booster shots to individuals. So at this point, do we know whether it will make a difference if you had the Pfizer shot and then get a Moderna shot or vice versa, or does it have to be the same one that you had earlier? We would like very much for it to be the same one you had earlier, but there was studies now called mix and match studies, which are trying to determine is the safety and the actual adequacy of the response, the same if you use the same or a different one, we’ll get that information pretty soon. But to the extent possible we would like people to stick with what the original vaccine was.” So get yours when it’s available, 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.