Fauci warns 'things are going to get worse' because of Delta variant surges but doesn't foresee more lockdowns

·3 min read
Fauci
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  • Dr. Anthony Fauci said "things are going to get worse" because of the Delta coronavirus variant.

  • "We're looking towards some pain and suffering in the future," Fauci told ABC News.

  • Fauci reiterated the efficacy of vaccines and said "the solution to this is to get vaccinated."

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House's chief medical advisor, warned Sunday that "things are going to get worse" with "pain and suffering ahead" in the US's coronavirus outbreak, primarily driven by the Delta virus variant.

"Are we headed towards a period once again where we're going to see lockdowns, businesses shutting down, masks routine for everybody, or is this potentially just a temporary setback?" the ABC News correspondent Jon Karl asked Fauci on "This Week" on Sunday morning.

"Jon, I don't think we're going to see lockdowns," Fauci said. "I think we have enough of the percentage of people in the country - not enough to crush the outbreak - but I believe enough to allow us to not get into the situation we were in last winter. But things are going to get worse. If you look at the acceleration of the number of cases, the seven-day average has gone up substantially."

Fauci added that "we are seeing an outbreak of the unvaccinated," highlighting the efficacy of vaccines against COVID-19.

Vaccines have proved remarkably effective against both symptomatic infections and severe disease. Less than 0.8% of fully vaccinated Americans have tested positive for COVID-19, according to estimates, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's director, Rochelle Walensky, saying 97% of those hospitalized for COVID-19 were unvaccinated.

"We're looking not I believe to lockdown, but we're looking to some pain and suffering in the future because we're seeing the cases go up, which is the reason why we keep saying over and over again: The solution to this is to get vaccinated and this would not be happening," Fauci said.

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Nationwide, reported COVID-19 cases have risen by 148%, hospitalizations by 73%, and deaths by 13% over the past 14 days, according to a New York Times database, primarily driven by the contagious Delta variant.

The spike in cases caused the CDC to formally recommend that even fully vaccinated Americans wear face coverings indoors in communities with substantial or high COVID-19 spread, which now encompasses most of the country.

Forty-four US states and Washington, DC, have substantial or high COVID-19 spread, by the CDC's definition, and are thus subject to the CDC's guidance for fully vaccinated people to wear masks indoors.

The Delta surge is hitting communities with the lowest vaccination rates the hardest, spurring new, urgent efforts to get reluctant Americans vaccinated.

In four of the five states with the highest rates of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people (Louisiana, Florida, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama), less than 50% of residents have received even one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and less than 40% are fully vaccinated, according to The Times.

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