Coronavirus cases are no longer going down, meaning the world is not entirely safe for anyone—including vaccinated people. How could this be? And how can you stay alive? Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, appeared on the New York Times podcast the Daily this morning. “Ultimately, all pandemics burn themselves out,” he said. “So you have a choice. Do you want it to burn itself out and kill a lot more people and make a lot more people sick? Or do you want to do something about it to prevent further deaths and further illness? …This is going to end one way or another. The preferable way…is to do whatever we can to minimize the suffering and the death. And we have within our power to do it. If we don’t utilize it, then bad things are going to happen.” Read on for six pieces of life saving advice—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.
Where are we at now? “It would be a mixed bag leaning towards the positive, as opposed to the negative,” said Dr. Fauci. “Because we haven’t had a major surge that we have peaked and are starting to come down—positive. Positive is that we have a vaccine implementation program that has done generally quite well, though. I’d be happy to get into more details about why it is not exactly where I would like to see it. Number three, we have now approval for vaccines for children which are an important component of all of this. We’ve shown that boosters are safe and effective in dramatically increasing the response, not only immunologically, but also when you look at the clinical data from Israel, it’s very clear that it reverses some of the waning effect that you see in people who’ve been vaccinated six months or more. Now, the thing that’s a bit sobering is that when you look at the deflection of the curve, it’s starting to plateau.”
“When you get to a peak and you get a top, it starts to come down and the sharpness and the steepness with which it comes down, the steeper, the better, the lower it goes the better, right? When it starts to not get so steep and then plateau, then you might find yourself in the uncomfortable situation where you plateau, where we are right now, which is at about 70 to 73,000 cases a day, right. Which is obviously not optimal, but also is a set up to have a resurgence upon that very high baseline.”
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Why do we have so many infections given that we have vaccines? It’s not much better than a year ago. “It’s a complicated issue and there are other factors in play that were not in play back in the previous spikes and surges,” said Dr. Fauci. “Let me go through a couple of them. First of all, what you have right now is a Delta variant. What is really, really a different species here. This variant has an extraordinary capability of spreading from person to person. You have that as a factor, a formidable enemy that you’re dealing with, if you want to get metaphorical about it, number two, you have about 60 plus million people in the country who are unvaccinated, although they are eligible to be vaccinated point number three, we are seeing something that is really interesting. And I’d like to get a little bit more unpacking of it with you in a bit. And that is, we’re starting to see waning immunity against infection and waning immunity in the beginning aspect against hospitalization.”
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“And if you look at Israel, which is always been a month to a month and a half ahead of us in the dynamics of the outbreak and their vaccine response, and in every other elements of the outbreak, they are seeing a waning of immunity not only against infection, but against hospitalizations and to some extent, death, which is starting to now involve all age groups,” said Dr. Fauci. “It isn’t just the elderly. So if one looks back at this, one can say, do you know it isn’t as if a booster is a bonus, but a booster might actually be an essential part of the primary regimen that people should have.”
He continued: “I think when all is said and done, as we get through boosting the overwhelming majority of the people who’ve been primarily vaccinated, we’re going to say just like other vaccines that require multiple doses, like hepatitis B, like some of the childhood vaccinations that it is likely, and I’m making my own personal projection as an immunologist and infectious disease person. We don’t have the proof yet. The proof of the pudding will be after you get people vaccinated and boosted. And we have a greater durability of protection that doesn’t wane as easily. We may realize that, you know, we did a prime and a boost because we were in a medical emergency, a public health emergency. We didn’t have the time to do an extensive phase two, a phase two B study to see whether two doses were better than three, whether a six months was better than eight months. We just did with what we had. And quite frankly, it was lifesaving for millions of people. So that’s why I think if we continue to get as many people vaccinated who are not yet vaccinated at all, and aggressively boost, the people who have been vaccinated, I think you’re going to see a different pattern than what we saw with the other surges over the past multiple months.”
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We’ve got to get more people vaccinated “because if you have a population of individuals who are vulnerable to infection with no protection from a vaccine, you give the virus ample opportunity to circulate, to infect, even through breakthrough infections, vaccinated people, and you give it the opportunity to mutate, to possibly develop into a new problematic variant. Now, if you just think a moment about the dynamics of virus in the community, when you have people who are protected by a vaccine, you know that no vaccine is a hundred percent protective. So the least amount of virus you have in the community, the less likely even vaccinated people are going to get a breakthrough infection. But when you flood the community with 73,000 new infections every day, that puts even the vaccinated people at risk.”
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Besides mandates, “there really aren’t very many tools left and that’s really very, very difficult and painful as a public health official to see that if we don’t do what is clearly and unambiguously, the right thing to do is to use a tool that is highly effective to prevent the suffering and the death that goes on. Then that would be very bad for us as a nation. We’ve lost 750,000 Americans. Thus far, we have 46 million infections, likely more since many go undetected. And we know what we can do. I’ve been involved in public health for over 40 years, and there have been diseases that I’ve had to deal with in which you don’t have any intervention. That’s very frustrated because you say, if only I had an intervention, I could do something about this disease. Now we have a historic pandemic, the likes of which we have not seen in over a hundred years, and we have highly effective, safe tools to end it. It would be really, uh, I think a terrible tragedy if we let more Americans and more people throughout the world, because I believe that we need to pay attention to, it goes on in the rest of the world. If we let more people die and more people get very, very ill by not using the tools that we are lucky enough to have.” So get vaccinated, 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.