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Dr. Fauci Just Issued This Worrying Warning

The Delta variant is like a new virus, he says now.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

The COVID-19 going around now is not the one you know from last year. It is more transmissible. It leads to more severe disease. And it can even impact those who are vaccinated. So how is anyone meant to stay safe from this Delta variant—and how can you? 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 Journal podcast with Ryan Knutson to explain why we should be concerned, and what you can do to protect your family and friends. Read on for 5 essential points—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 We are Dealing With a "Different Virus" Now

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"We are dealing with a different virus," said Dr. Fauci. "We several months ago were talking about as we get into the summer hopefully we can have enough people vaccinated that we wouldn't be in any real difficulty that we could start approaching normal at a rapid rate. Now along comes the Delta variant and something changes because of its transmissibility, the breakthrough infected vaccinated people now can transmit it to a vulnerable person, be that somebody outside who's unconnected with them, who's unvaccinated or importantly, somebody in their own home."

2

Dr. Fauci Says That's Why Wearing Masks is Important

Brunette woman wearing a KN95 FPP2 mask.
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Because of how transmissible Delta is—"that's why all of a sudden you're talking about masking in schools, maskings in indoor settings when before the CDC said, 'When you're in an indoor setting, you don't have to mask.' Now you modify and change because given this virus when you're in an indoor setting in a geographic area that's a high or substantial level of virus, you have to wear a mask." He admitted maybe the CDC lifted mask restrictions too early. "If you had to do it over again, I guess you would have said, 'Well, you kind of knew that the Delta variant was a dominant variant. It was sooner or later was going to take over.; So there are people who understandably criticized and say, 'Why did you do that in the first place?'"

3

Dr. Fauci Warned Vaccinated People May Get Long COVID

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Can vaccinated people get Long COVID, the constellation of symptoms—fatigue, migraines, inflammation, post-exertional malaise—that has ruined so many lives? "Yes. In fact, it was a recent short, small study that showed that if you are a vaccinated person and you get a breakthrough infection, you can get persistence of symptoms following the clearance of the virus, which by definition is long COVID. I would imagine it likely is not going to be as frequent or as severe as the long COVID of an unvaccinated person who's been sick for a considerable period of time, recovers and then has long COVID. I would be surprised if it were equivalent," he said.

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

4

Dr. Fauci Says Delta is Proving More Severe

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"There were three studies, Ryan, some were better than the other. I'm not going to name them. I don't want to offend anybody. But I would think looking at those studies I think it's suggests it doesn't definitively prove, but it's suggests that the Delta variant can be more severe leading to more hospitalizations in mostly the unvaccinated people," he warned.

RELATED: 9 Everyday Habits That Might Lead to Dementia

5

Dr. Fauci Said the Unvaccinated People are Putting the Vulnerable at Risk

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Dr. Fauci was asked if we should just let unvaccinated people fend for themselves; if they want to risk getting sick, or risk getting their children sick, or a stranger's children sick, let them. "You know, that is not in my mind a good public health approach," said Fauci. "You know, it's almost blaming people for the fact that they may have absorbed misinformation or they may have been misled. So rather than abandoning them, I would hope to continue to outreach to them. Remember, once the virus continues to smolder which it will do, if we don't get the overwhelming proportion of that population vaccinated, if you just abandon them and say, 'The heck with it, we're going to just let you get infected.' What you're forgetting about is the vulnerability of the vaccinated people who get a very bad response; the transplant patients, the immunosuppressed, the cancer chemotherapy, the children who have not yet gotten vaccinated. They are vulnerable because there's infection among the unvaccinated. So you don't want to say abandon the unvaccinated because then you will leave the vulnerable vulnerable. The best way to solve the problem which gets back to the really simple message that I must say 50 times a day, get vaccinated, and we wouldn't be having this conversation."

So 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