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Dr. Fauci Issues Bluntest Warning Yet

If we don’t stop Delta now, the pandemic will just keep going, he warns.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

If you have not been vaccinated against COVID-19, get yours now, warns Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Otherwise, you're not only putting yourself and others in danger, but this pandemic will just not stop, dragging on through fall and into next spring, with potential new variants popping up and no end in sight. In an interview with USA Today, Fauci was blunter than ever about how to keep yourself safe and help end this thing. Read on for 5 life-saving pieces of advice—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.

1

Dr. Fauci Warned COVID Would Just Keep Coming For Us if We Don't Stop It

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"When you get the overwhelming majority of the population vaccinated – and we don't know what that threshold is – the virus will disappear, and then we won't need to worry about it, at least in this country. If you don't do that"—and right now, with 90 million Americans unvaccinated, it will take a while—"you will get a smoldering level of infection that will just go right into the fall, get confused with influenza in the winter, and then come back again in the spring."

2

Dr. Fauci Has This Warning for the Unvaccinated People

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"Now for the unvaccinated who say I don't really care, I'm young and healthy, if I get infected, it is true that, statistically, it is unlikely that you will have a serious outcome," he said. "If you were living in a vacuum, that would be fine, but you're not living in a vacuum. You are living in a society. And if you become the vehicle for the virus to go from you to someone else to someone else, you are helping to propagate the virus." It'll just keep going and going…..

3

Dr. Fauci Warned of Newer, Potentially Worse Variants

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"There's a very firm tenet that a virus cannot mutate, unless it is replicating, and, if you allow the virus to freely replicate chronically in society, it will mutate," said Fauci. "Now many mutations have no relevance functionally, but every once in a while you get a mutation like Delta, where the mutations cause a variant. And the variant has a real functional consequence. With Delta, we have a virus that spreads much more rapidly than the original alpha variant. What happens if over months and months and months you allow the virus to replicate, it is conceivable, not guaranteed, but conceivable, that we could get a variant that eludes the protection of the vaccine."

4

Dr. Fauci Had This Guess About How Long This Will Go On

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"How long is dependent on our country and on the world," said Dr. Fauci. "You can't separate the world from our country, unless we shut ourselves out, don't let anybody in and don't let anybody out. That's not going to happen. So, let's look at our own country. I believe, if the better angels of the people prevail, despite the sea of lies that we're living in, that people say, 'I'm seeing everybody around me get sick and dying. Let me just go ahead and get vaccinated,' if we can get an overwhelming proportion of the people vaccinated as a nation, then we will do very, very well. If we don't get the rest of the world vaccinated within the next couple of years, you're going to have the circulation of more mutations that will lead to variants, that will then come into the country, and then all of us who are protected against Delta may not be protected against zaida. We have got to make sure that we play a major role in getting the world vaccinated, and thank goodness the administration has made that decision."

5

Dr. Fauci Said Here's How to Keep Kids Safer 

Mother puts a safety mask on her son's face.
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How to keep unvaccinated kids safe? "There are two ways to do that," Fauci said. "One is to surround the children with people who are vaccinated. Get as many teachers as possible vaccinated; get anybody who is anywhere near a child, in what should be the protected environment of a school, if they are eligible to be vaccinated, they should be vaccinated. Since you will not get 100% of those people vaccinated, that's when you get into the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines that whether you're vaccinated or not, the most important thing is to get the children back to school. …Getting the people around the kids vaccinated isn't all that difficult to me. It's common sense, but getting everybody to wear a mask, you're going to get pushback from that. Hence the anti-mask mandates that you're seeing in certain states. My feeling is that I would rather have a child be a little bit uncomfortable with a mask on and be healthy, than a comfortable child without a mask in an (intensive care unit)."

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

6

Dr. Fauci Says Anti-Vaxxers Are Living in an "Alternative Reality"

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"I'm fundamentally a very tolerant person and I accept and deal with people who are seemingly doing things that are really quite unreasonable," said Fauci. "I don't have negative feelings toward them. I feel badly for them that they are being misled. I don't want to get into the politics, but sometimes you almost have to." He said people were being misled by outlets like Fox News, which makes people believe in an "alternative reality." "I'd like to rescue those people from getting sick. I don't want to get into their head and change their mind. I'm a physician. I'm a scientist. I'm not a politician. I don't want to change them; I just don't want them to get sick, and anything that I can do to prevent them from getting sick, I'll do."

RELATED: 9 Everyday Habits That Might Lead to Dementia

7

Dr. Fauci Said He Didn't Think There Would Be Shutdowns

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"Back in the day when we shut down, the rationale for shutting down was that the hospital system would not be able to handle the surge of cases. We have 70% of our adult population that has received at least a single dose; 85% of the elderly are vaccinated. So although you are going to see an increase in hospitalizations, on a national level you will not see an overwhelming of the hospital systems, because the more vulnerable are, relatively speaking, protected. What we are seeing, which is unnerving, is that given that the elderly are more protected than the youth, when you walk into a hospital what you're going to see is a lot of young people, some of whom are seriously ill. But you're not seeing an overwhelming, outstripping of the capability of the hospitals throughout the country. So for that reason I really don't think we're going to have to lock down."

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8

How to Stay Safe Out There

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Follow Fauci's 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