The COVID-19 pandemic feels like it’s coming to an end, especially in America—but even Americans are vulnerable, as a new COVID variant, called Delta, stalks those who are unvaccinated and threatens to keep this pandemic going on and on. With that in mind, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, spoke with NBC’s Chuck Todd and issued a warning about the virus—a big one. Read on—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.
The UK is “starting to see now is that the new Delta variant, the 617, that originated or was at least first recognized in India, is now becoming dominant in the UK. I was speaking to their health officials the other day. It’s about 60% there. Fortunately for us, the vaccines that we have available are good against the variants, a little bit of a diminution, but not much against the Delta.” Could there be a fall surge? “We have the tools in our hand to prevent any difficulties from occurring in September. And that’s the reason why we’re out there really pushing and beating the bushes and trying to get people to understand why it’s so important for them to get vaccinated, not only for their themselves and their own protection for their family, but also they don’t want to be a vehicle for the spread of the virus. You want to be a dead end for the virus. And that’s what we’re trying to get across.” Keep reading to see which states are in trouble.
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Todd asked if the fall and winter cold “become potentially problematic if we can’t meet this 75, 80% threshold?” Dr. Fauci said: “It’s important to know…that we have a big country and there’s real disparities and differences in the percent of people who are vaccinated in different states, cities, regions—and in those areas, in which you have a high degree that are, and we already have now I think it’s 13, at least States that have reached the 70% goal already in June. And if they get further and further, there’ll be more and more protected. And if you look at the map, you’ll see, there are some regions that are well below 50%, which is really unfortunate because those are the states and the areas that are going to be most vulnerable. If in fact there is the potential for a surge as we get into the fall, this is particularly important shock because we’re concerned about variants.”
Dr. Fauci said elderly people have been doing well—”we’ve been able to vaccinate, you know, 80% or so of people over a particular 65 years old and age are old, but the hospitalizations and the deaths are lower in them, but we are starting to see right now, even though the likelihood of a younger person who gets infected, getting a serious outcome is still certainly much less than the elderly or those with underlying conditions. We’re seeing now clearly that people who are younger are getting hospitalized and some of them are dying. So people who are young should not feel that completely exempt from getting the risk of having a serious outcome. And you talk to physicians and healthcare providers who are in the trenches, in the emergency rooms and in the hospital, they’re telling you, they’re seeing more and more young people who come in with severe disease.”
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It’s looking increasingly unlikely that we’ll reach President Joe Biden’s goal of vaccinating 70% of the country by July 4th. Dr. Fauci said a goal is good “to give yourself the impetus and the stimulus to get there. If you [fall] short of that, that’s not the end of the game. You continue to push. And even if we do, which I hope we do, I believe we can meet the goal by July 4th of getting 70% of the adult population with at least one dose. Even if we do, we don’t want to stop there. We want to continue to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as we possibly can. It’s important to go all the way as much as you possibly can. Things have slowed down a bit, but that’s what happens when the cohort of people who have not been vaccinated is smaller and smaller. We have about 50% of the adult population is already completely vaccinated and over 60% have had at least one dose. So we’re doing very well. We want to do even better.”
Dr. Fauci said you needed a global solution to end this global problem. “You cannot live in a vacuum in this world. We’re an interconnected world, particularly when you’re dealing with a highly transmissible respiratory virus, we are doing well in getting people vaccinated. Other countries that are in the developed world are doing well and getting people, but there are many countries in the world in which the level of vaccine is so low through no fault of their own. They don’t have the resources, they don’t have the capability. And that’s the reason why I have always been of the mindset to say that we must look at this in the context of a global solution. And I feel, and I’ve been this way for 40 years since the days of HIV, when I felt we needed to get interventions in the developing world, both as a moral responsibility for those individuals in those countries who are suffering, because they don’t have the resources, but also for our own self-interest bequests.”
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So follow Fauci’s fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated ASAP, and if you’re not, 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, 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.