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Virus Expert Just Gave This Stark Warning

Delta is a “different kind of virus” and kids are getting infected.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Dr. Francis Collins, the head of the National Institutes of Health and Dr. Fauci's boss, is as worried as his colleague: COVID-19 cases are rising, and kids are getting sick. "I'm a scientist. I'm a doctor. I'm having the privilege of working in public health. I never dreamed this would be the problem we would have," said Collins. "We have incredibly effective vaccines and they work beautifully against this Delta variant. I never thought that here we'd be in August of 2021 with 93 million people still saying, maybe I don't want to do this. And we have such a problem with misinformation. This is life and death for people. If we can save their lives with vaccines, let's make that happen as quick as we can." How can you keep yourself and the young ones safe? Collins spoke to Arizona's KOLD and issued 5 ways you could survive this pandemic. Read on for each one—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Have "Long" COVID and May Not Even Know It.


Dr. Collins Said This is the #1 Reason to Wear Your Mask

Scientists and microbiologists with PPE suit and face mask hold test tube and microscope in lab

"It is a different kind of virus than what we dealt with last year," said Collins. "And since it became the dominant virus very quickly in the US starting in July, all of the things that we thought we were pretty sure about have to be reconsidered. And certainly it is the case that we need to do everything we can to protect kids under 12, who are not yet eligible for vaccination, from getting exposed. And that means a and CDC has changed their guidelines because of Delta. We know that when people are in indoor gatherings—even if you're vaccinated—wear a mask, because those vaccinated people can also carry the virus and then transmit it to other vulnerable people, including kids. So it changes the dynamics. And I know people are sick of hearing about the need to wear masks. I'm sick of it too, but at the same time, if we want to keep kids safe, that's what it's going to take."


Dr. Collins Said Kids are Getting Quite Sick

Nurse with thermometer measures fever on patient child in hospital bed, wearing protective visor and surgical mask.

"I'm afraid that's true," said Collins about more kids becoming ill. "This Delta variant is just so incredibly contagious that lots of the kids are getting exposed, getting infected. And some of them are getting really quite ill in the hospital, in intensive care units. And sadly, we are seeing kids die from this. So anybody who tried to tell you, 'Don't worry about the kids. They handled it fine.' Most of them do yes, but not all. And that's all the more reason we have to really think about how to protect them."

RELATED: I'm a Doctor and Here's How to Not Catch Delta


Dr. Collins Said This About Vaccinations for Kids Under 12

Child with face mask getting vaccinated

"We all want to see kids able to get the vaccinations as well, and that data is being generated right now by the companies Pfizer and Moderna, and hasn't actually been submitted yet to the FDA for their review because they wanted to have enough follow-up time to be sure that weren't any long-term side effects," said Collins. "Kids are not just scaled down versions of adults. You have to be really thoughtful about how to check out: When do you have the right dose? Do you want to give the same dose to a six year old that you would give to a 20 year old? Maybe not. All of that's gotta be done properly. And I don't want anybody to look at this when we do approve vaccines for kids and say it was rushed because that won't help either. So I think they're doing the right thing. Unfortunately, it will be then a few more months before kids under 12 can get immunized. And that means we've all got to take care of them."

RELATED: These 9 States to Have Next Outbreak, Virus Expert Warns


Dr. Collins Said Delta is "Coming for You"

Woman Checking Her Temperature in Bed

"It's possible" that numbers could spike and then fall, as they did in the UK, says Collins. "I think we were all surprised to see that sudden drop in the United Kingdom after they went up very steeply about a month ago because of Delta, but I'm a little worried. I'm looking at the United Kingdom data every day and there's spike went up, it came down sort of halfway and then it stopped coming down and now it looks like it might be going back up again. So the thing we've got to do is not just count on this sort of passing in the next month or two, anybody who's listening to this, who's still unvaccinated. This virus is looking for you and we really want to encourage everybody: If you've been on the fence, sort of for a little more evidence about this being the thing to do. I think that evidence is here now in terms of the risks to you, to your family. And if you've got little kids to keep them safe too. So please people and sort of hit the reset button on all the information you heard about vaccines, go and look and see what's there in the reliable places. Go to and look at the evidence yourself. I think you'll be pretty convinced. It's time to roll up your sleeve if you haven't already done."

RELATED: 6 COVID Mistakes That Could Cost You Your Life


How to Stay Safe Out There

Woman in medical face mask getting Covid-19 vaccine at the hospital

Follow public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, 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.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more about Alek