Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House chief medical adviser, on Sunday issued a dire warning as the country experiences spikes in COVID-19 cases amid the spread of the Delta variant, especially amongst the unvaccinated.
During an interview on ABC News, Fauci was asked whether he foresees more lockdowns or if he sees current surges in COVID-19 case as a temporary setback.
Fauci replied that he doubts more lockdowns are in the cards.
“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,” Fauci said.
Fauci, however, said that “things are going to get worse,” citing the rate of unvaccinated people in the country,
“If you look at the acceleration of the number of cases, the seven-day average has gone up substantially,” Fauci said. “We have 100 million people in this country who are eligible to be vaccinated who are not getting vaccinated.”
Fauci stressed that there is an outbreak among the unvaccinated, and that breakthrough infections among the vaccinated are expected because “no vaccine is 100 percent effective.”
“But in the breakthrough infections, they are mostly mild or without symptoms, whereas the unvaccinated who have a much, much, much greater chance of getting infected in the first place, are the ones that are vulnerable to getting severe illness that might lead to hospitalization and in some cases death,” Fauci said.
Although he doubts more lockdowns, Fauci argued that the country is “looking to some pain and suffering in the future” as COVID-19 cases rise, and that cases will only tamp down if vaccination rates increase.
Asked whether the “pain and suffering” he referred to is the case amongst those who are not vaccinated, Fauci said “there is no doubt about that.”
Fauci emphasized that vaccines protect people from developing serious illness that require hospitalizations or lead to death.
“However, when you have unvaccinated people getting infected, you’re propagating the dynamics of the outbreak, which ultimately impacts everybody, from the standpoint of having to wear masks, from the standpoint of the safety of the kids in school, from the standpoint of being able to open up everything the way we were when we were normal,” Fauci said.
Last week, the White House moved to require vaccinations for all federal employees and contractors, as well as mask mandates for all visitors to the campus regardless of vaccination status as the Delta variant spreads nationwide.
Biden’s announcement followed the Department of Veterans Affairs’ requirement for all frontline health care workers to be vaccinated within the next two months.
The White House also instructed all staff, including reporters, to wear masks in all indoor spaces regardless of vaccination status.
The White House’s requirements came after the CDC issued updated guidance last week that directed fully vaccinated people to wear masks indoors in areas of “substantial” and “high” spread of COVID-19.
Right-wingers who previously pushed vaccination skepticism have notably switched gears recently by touting the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines as hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 continue to rise. Recent polling has shown that Republicans, especially men, are significantly more resistant to getting vaccinated against the infectious disease that has killed more than 600,000 Americans thus far.
Watch Fauci’s remarks below:
NEW: White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci tells @jonkarl, "things are going to get worse," as COVID-19 cases surge with delta variant.
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) August 1, 2021