National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins warned on Sunday the continuing rise of Covid-19 cases propelled by the Delta variant could return the nation to the worst days of the pandemic.
“This is going very steeply upward with no signs of having peaked out,” Collins said on “Fox News Sunday.”
Covid-19 cases have been rising again due to the Delta variant’s highly contagious nature. The nation is seeing more than 129,000 new cases a day, which is up more than 700 percent from the beginning of July. Those numbers could leap up to over 200,000 new cases a day, which were levels unheard of since the deadliest months of January and February, Collins said.
“Here we are with [the] Delta variant, which is so contagious, and this heartbreaking situation where 90 million people are still unvaccinated, who are sitting ducks for this virus, and that's the mess we are in,” Collins said.
“We are in a world of hurt," he said, "and it's a critical juncture to try to do everything we can to turn that around.”
Meanwhile, Collins said health officials are still monitoring data to determine whether the general population will need a booster shot, due to concerns over the dropping effectiveness of the coronavirus vaccine over time.
That decision, however, has not been made yet, and Collins assured that current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows that those who are vaccinated are protected from serious illness and hospitalization.
Collins also discouraged people from going ahead and getting additional shots on their own until there’s further evidence to support the need.
For now, the issue is those who haven’t been vaccinated and are left vulnerable to the highly contagious Delta variant, Collins said.
“The big message right now this morning,” he said, is “for the people who aren't vaccinated, this is the moment to absolutely get off the fence and take care of this because you are a sitting duck for this virus. It's looking for you.”