The Slatest

Fauci Has a Warning on COVID-19 Surge: “Things Are Going to Get Worse”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, responds to questions by Senator Rand Paul during the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on July 20, 2021.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, responds to questions by Senator Rand Paul during the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on July 20, 2021. J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE/Getty Images

As new COVID-19 cases surge across the country due to the highly transmissible Delta variant, Dr. Anthony Fauci warned that “things are going to get worse.” Fauci, the administration’s chief medical adviser, said that despite the increases he didn’t believe the United States will return to lockdowns. “I don’t think we’re going to see lockdowns,” Fauci said on ABC’s This Week, noting that the number of people vaccinated is likely to be “enough to not allow us to get into the situation we were in last winter.” But he warned the outlook is still dire and there will be “some pain and suffering in the future” and the only way to prevent that is for more people to get vaccinated as quickly as possible.

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“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.” In the end, what the United States is experiencing is “an outbreak of the unvaccinated,” he added. Even though it’s true that there are some breakthrough infections among the vaccinated, “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.”

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While it’s true that the vaccinated are largely protected from severe illness, the unvaccinated aren’t just hurting themselves. “The unvaccinated, by not being vaccinated, are allowing the propagation and the spread of the outbreak which ultimately impacts everybody,” Fauci said. Speaking on CBS’ Face the Nation, Fauci said he understands people’s feelings that they have the individual right to make their own decisions on wearing masks but they need to understand that it isn’t just about personal choice. “I respect that, for sure,” Fauci said. “But the issue is, if you’re going to be part of the transmission chain to someone else, then your decision is impacting someone else. It’s not only impacting you. And you’ve got to think about it, that you are a member of society and you have a responsibility.”

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There was a 64 percent increase in COVID-19 cases across the country over the week that ended July 30 compared with the previous week, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The current seven-day average of new hospital admissions for patients with COVID-19 stands at 6,071, which is a 44 percent increase from the previous week.

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