What has Dr Fauci said about the covid-19 Delta variant and lockdowns?
In response to the more infectious strain of covid-19 the White House' chief medical advisor has called for caution but said businesses should remain open.
In an interview with ABC’s ‘This Week’ on Sunday Dr Anthony Fauci warned that “things will get worse” but insisted that he does not foresee a return of the national lockdowns that plagued the country for much of 2020.
The White House’ chief medical advisor said: "I don't think we're gonna see lockdowns. 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. But things are going to get worse.”
His comments came in response to new concerns that the Delta variant of covid-19 is proving much more difficult to contain. Last week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated their coronavirus guidelines to advise that even vaccinated Americans should consider wearing masks indoors when in an area of high covid-19 infection.
Spike in cases caused by “an outbreak of the unvaccinated”
Despite the rise in case numbers nationally and a number of ‘breakthrough infections’ amongst vaccinated people, the vast majority or new cases and hospitalisations are found in unvaccinated people.
Fauci told ABC’s Jonathan Karl: "You know what we really need to do, Jon, we say it over and over again and it's the truth -- we have 100 million people in this country who are eligible to be vaccinated who are not getting vaccinated. We are seeing an outbreak of the unvaccinated.”
He added: "From the standpoint of illness, hospitalization, suffering and death, the unvaccinated are much more vulnerable because the vaccinated are protected from severe illness, for the most part, but when you look at the country as a whole.”
However research into a coronavirus outbreak in Provincetown, Massachusetts has found that while vaccinated people are far less likely to become infected, if they do contract covid-19 they may be just as likely to spread it as unvaccinated people. This new information is believed to have been central in the CDC’s reversal on mask-wearing.
Delta surges across the south where vaccines uptake is lowest
On Monday the southern states of Florida and Louisiana were approaching their highest rates of hospitalisation since the pandemic began as one Florida doctor warned of the “darkest days” yet. Florida was at more than 10,000 covid-19 hospitalisations on Sunday, the highest at any point in the pandemic.
However there is concern that local officials are not doing enough the stem the tide of new infections and are actually preventing businesses from taking proactive steps to protect the public. Last week Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis passed a new executive order banning schools from requiring face coverings. School children were the last group to be given access to the vaccine and there is concern that they could act as major vectors of infection when schools return in the fall.