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Virus Expert Just Said if Things Could Get Worse Than Last Year

Dr. Jha says: “We've got to protect kids and these are easy ways of doing it.” 
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

"More than 100,000 people are being treated for COVID in hospitals in the country right now, the highest number in seven months, we are a year and a half into this pandemic," said the anchor on Good Morning America this morning. How can you stay safe? Virus expert Dr. Ashish Jha appeared on the show to provide some contect. Read on—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.


Virus Expert Was Asked if Things Could Get Worse

Covid-19 patient with oxygen mask in bed in hospital

Could things get even worse than what we saw last year? "I'm hopeful not," said Jha. "And I think part of what you're hearing from physicians and nurses is just a relentlessness of it, the 18 months of it. And also I think most of us thought once we got through the winter or people started getting vaccinated, we said, okay, the worst is behind us. We're not going to deal with this again. I just didn't think we, we, any of us expected that a third of Americans would opt not to get vaccinated. So I'm hoping we never get back to the worst of the winter. But you know, hope is not a strategy. We've got to get more people vaccinated."


Dr. Jha Said This is Why More Kids are Getting Sick

Little girl is sick using oxygen mask on her face laying in bed at hospital.

More than 2,100 kids are hospitalized now, the largest number in a year. "What's behind the large numbers of kids getting infected is a large number of adults in those communities getting infected," said Dr. Jha. "It's worth remembering that kids largely get infected from adults. And so that's what's driving this now, when it comes to schools, if you have infected kids, walking into schools, they are going to spread it to their friends, right? That's what kids do. And the reason for having masks, especially in areas of large outbreaks, but really I think everywhere in the country right now, is that we can prevent that transmission as well. We've got to protect kids and these are easy ways of doing it. Vaccinations and masks."

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Virus Expert Said More Mutations May Come

Virus experts are working using microscope in laboratory with protective suit, gloves glasses and mask

The CEO of Pfizer said this week he expects more mutations of COVID. "Well, it's surely possible," said virus expert Michael Osterholm on GMA3. "I think everything we're looking at right now should cause us to have a great deal of humility because this virus has surely thrown us curve balls. But right now, for example, with the Delta virus, we don't see evidence of that actually evading the immune protection of the [vaccinated] individual. We surely can see that your protection may wane over six to eight months, which would then come into play with the booster. It is so really very, very infectious so that we're seeing that in some people likely that are the breakthrough cases. These are people that the level of virus they inhaled was just so large that it overwhelmed the protection of what the vaccine could provide. Now, remember, these people still generally have much, much milder illness, but they still get infected."

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Dr. Jha Said All of This is Preventable

Moderna and Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine

The deaths frustrate Jha because "now it's so preventable. Seven, eight months ago, we didn't have a vaccine that was widely available. And it was much more understandable. The situation we were in right now, almost every single one of those is preventable with a vaccine. We've got to do better on that. We have to do better."

RELATED: Dr. Fauci Just Said When We'd Be Back to "Normal"


How to Stay Safe Out There

Doctor Giving Older Woman Corona Virus Vaccine Injection In Hospital

Follow the 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