The pandemic is finally clearing up in (most of) the United States but it’s raging in other countries. How can we be safe if COVID-19 won’t ever go away? During a United States Southern Command COVID-19 Fireside Chat, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, spoke about just that. Read on for four essential takeaways that could save your life—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You Had COVID And Maybe Didn’t Even Know It.
How to end this pandemic? “Vaccination, vaccination, and vaccination, that’s it,” said Dr. Fauci. “I mean, it really is. As simple as that, we have been fortunate enough that we have a highly, highly effective series of vaccines, not just one that if we vaccinate the overwhelming proportion of our population, we can get to that strict control that I talk about short of that when we’re not there yet, we’ve got to maintain the public health measures that we’ve been talking about now for well over a year. And we should not declare victory prematurely until we do get that rather strict control of the outbreak.” Read on to see why the virus will still rage all year, even if you’re vaccinated.
“It’s going to be a mixed bag,” said Dr. Fauci about the pandemic this year. “What we’re already seeing right now in the United States where we have just now over the last few days reached 60% of our adult population has received at least one dose. We hope, as the president has made a goal that by the 4th of July, we’ll have 70% of the adult population receiving at least one dose. We’re going to be seeing similar situations in other developed nations, but by a mixed bag—what I mean is that there are many countries, including India, for example, who has about 3% of their population fully vaccinated, and only about 10 to 11% having received at least one dose. So the challenge is going to be, as the developed world continues to vaccinate a greater proportion of their population. We’re going to see places like South Africa, places in South America, including Brazil and other South American countries, as well as certain countries in Asia, struggling to get their population fully vaccinated.”
“When we talk about infectious diseases, there are three outcomes,” said Dr. Fauci. “When you have a highly communicable disease, like COVID-19, there’s eradication, elimination or control. We have only eradicated one single pathogen for humans in the history of our civilization and that’s smallpox, and we’ve done it with vaccination. We however have eliminated several such as polio in the developed world, measles in the United States, other diseases that are not eradicated, but they’re of no consequence whatsoever. And then there’s control. And when you talk about COVID-19 being with us forever, what people are referring to is we may not be able to eradicate it, and we certainly might not be able to completely eliminate it. So there are no cases in the United States, but we are hoping for is very, very good control where it no longer is a pandemic or epidemic.” So “it’s just a very low level when most of the population is vaccinated, that you would get an occasional case here and there that’s a breakthrough case. I think that’s the goal we should be going for if we reach elimination all the better, but we’ve got to strive for very strict control of this infection.”
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How should lesser-developed countries contain the virus? “Obviously the number of people who have accelerated in the level of viral dynamics in the community is going to dictate pretty clearly what you can and cannot do,” said Dr. Fauci. “One of the things we have to be careful of, because we’ve gotten burned and other countries have gotten burned before, is to declare victory prematurely, and to just open up completely without any plan for how you’re going to handle any even small resurgences of infection. So, I mean, we always talk about things like mask wearing and physical distancing and things you can gradually open up without just throwing aside all public health measures, because if you still have a considerable amount of viral dynamics in the community, and you just pull back on everything all at once, that’s going to turn out to be a problem. So the advice we give, if you want to call it, that is to be measured in how you pull back from public health restrictions and not try to do it all at once, because time and again, we’ve gotten burned when we’ve done that.” Go get vaccinated, and to get through life at your healthiest, don’t miss: This Supplement Can Raise Your Cancer Risk, Experts Say.