Dr Anthony Fauci believes the Covid situation in the United States is about to get worse.
Speaking on ABC’s This Week on Sunday, the infectious diseases expert said enough Americans have been vaccinated to avoid a repeat of 2020’s worst outbreaks – but too many still haven’t gotten the shot.
“I think we have enough of the percentage of people in the country – not enough to crush the outbreak – but I believe enough to not allow us to get into the situation we were in last winter,” Dr Fauci said. “But things are going to get worse.”
The US is currently battling a resurgence of the coronavirus in the form of the new Delta variant, which is more contagious than the original strain. Vaccines have proven effective against the variant, but many Americans – about 30 per cent of adults – have not even gotten their first shot.
Looking at the current trendlines, Dr Fauci said the US situation is on track to get worse. As he pointed out, the seven-day average of new Covid cases per day is rising – in fact, according to The New York Times, that number has surged from 12,183 on 1 July to 78,433 on 31 July.
The solution, Dr Fauci said, is simple: more people must get vaccinated.
“You know what we really need to do, Jon,” he told ABC’s Jonathan Karl. “We say it over and over again and it’s the truth – we have 100 million people in this country who are eligible to be vaccinated who are not getting vaccinated. We are seeing an outbreak of the unvaccinated.”
In recent weeks, Covid hospitalizations have soared in states with low vaccination rates, like Missouri and Arkansas. States with high vaccination rates, meanwhile, have largely been spared.
“From the standpoint of illness, hospitalization, suffering and death, the unvaccinated are much more vulnerable because the vaccinated are protected from severe illness, for the most part,” Dr Fauci said.
One thing the vaccines don’t do, however, is stop the spread of the virus – at least not completely. Researchers recently discovered that the Delta variant can still be transmitted by a vaccinated person, even if that person is not seriously ill.
The result, Dr Fauci said, is a dangerous situation for unvaccinated Americans – and possibly for the whole country.
“The unvaccinated, by not being vaccinated, are allowing the propagation and the spread of the outbreak, which ultimately impacts everybody,” Dr Fauci said.