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The coronavirus will continue to claim the lives of thousands more Americans unless we band together to stop it. That's the message from Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who spoke with the Boston Globe yesterday and issued the essential warning you're about to read. Read on for 6 points that can save your life—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
Dr. Fauci Warned We are "Experiencing the Full Brunt" of Delta
"There are certain things about it that are predictable. There are certain things that are unpredictable right now," said Dr. Fauci. "We are in the fourth surge that we've experienced in this country. The first being in the late winter of 2020, then the early spring of 2020, then the summer of 2020, and then the fall and winter of 2021 right now in the summer where we are seeing 150 to 160,000 cases a day. So we're experiencing the full brunt of the ability of the Delta variant to spread much more efficiently along the people. And that's the reason why you're seeing we came down a bit and now we're going back up. I hope that starts to slow down a bit as we get more and more people vaccinated."
Dr. Fauci Says It's Urgent We Recognize This One Thing
"We've got to recognize now, and in the future for future outbreaks, that we have a common enemy and the common enemy is the virus, not each other," said Dr. Fauci. "And it's very interesting that even when people disagree with each other, when they realize they're fighting a common enemy, they often become allies. And that's what we really do need. We need people of diverse, ideological persuasion, political interests, whatever you want to call it: We need those people to come together to realize there is a consistent, common way to address this virus. When we do that, we will get much closer to controlling this."
Dr. Fauci Says This is How to End the Pandemic
"The key answer and solution to this, as simple as it may seem, is if we get as many people vaccinated as we possibly can, as quickly as we possibly can—we've done a relatively good job, particularly among the elderly of getting the elderly vaccinated about 85% of elderly individuals have been vaccinated—however, among younger individuals, it's not nearly as good. And we have now about 75 million people in this country who are eligible to be vaccinated who are not yet vaccinated and therein lies the problem because we can turn off this dynamic escalation of cases very quickly. If we had literally the overwhelming proportion of the population vaccinated, we have 70% of the population has received at least one dose. And about 60 plus percent have received two doses, but that's not enough. That means that 40% have not. So that's really the problem. We have the solution to the problem, but we are not adequately implementing the solution to the problem."
Dr. Fauci Says This is Why There's So Much Vaccine Hesitancy
"There has always been in society, an element that is anti-vax generally, that's been a very small proportion of the population," said Dr. Fauci, "What we're seeing now that's somewhat unique is that the hesitancy, apart from those who are inherently anti-vax, is really segregated along the lines of political ideology. I mean, if you look at the under-vaccinated states, they're almost all with one exception red states. And if you look at the states that have the best record of vaccination, it's the blue states. So it goes beyond just people feeling they really don't want to get vaccinated for any of a number of reasons. There is this inexplicable and completely destructive, in some respects, ideological swing towards whether or not you should get vaccinated. And that is really unfortunate because it's an example of you have the tools readily available to you and you don't implement them, which is just the reason why we're in the situation that we're in right now."
Dr. Fauci Says Here's One Big Lesson From This Pandemic
"There are multiple things and lessons learned from this pandemic," said Dr. Fauci. "You need to build up the local public health systems, which in our own country here, as rich as we are, we have let that diminish and essentially wane on the vine here. We've got to build them up. We showed that it was inadequate during our rather difficult attempt to do…contact tracing. Next, we need to build up the global health security network. We have communications, openness, transparency, solidarity among nations throughout the world. All of which enhances a much more effective surveillance and communication system. Next, we need to have the capability and we're working on that right now of being able to move quickly to develop vaccines to a new pathogen, literally in a hundred days and get it distributed in a couple of hundred days as opposed to something that would take much longer than that. We were fortunate with COVID-19 that our previous experience with SARS-CoV-1, with the structural biological approach to vaccine design with HIV that allowed us to move very, very quickly, but we may not be as lucky next time around with the pathogen that we haven't had any experience with. So there's scientific, preparedness and public health preparedness, and there've been several lessons that we learned before. COVID and that certainly we are learning with COVID that if we learn from those lessons, I think we'll do much better as we go ahead and address the inevitable future outbreaks."
How to Stay Safe Out There
Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, 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.