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Virus Expert Just Warned of New Variant Threat 

Scott Gottlieb says we need to watch the new Delta variant.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Coronavirus cases are ebbing in some of the USA, although spikes in some Northern states are cause for concern. Even so, the threat of a new variant—possibly one worse than Delta—looms. In fact, yesterday, Scott Gottlieb, the former head of the FDA and the author of the new book Uncontrolled Spread, warned of a Delta strain that needs watching. Read on for five life-saving pieces of advice from him and other experts (including Dr. Anthony Fauci)—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Virus Expert Warns of "Delta Plus"

Medical staff work in the intensive care ward for COVID-19 patients

"UK reported its biggest one-day Covid case increase in 3 months just as the new delta variant AY.4  with the S:Y145H mutation in the spike reaches 8% of UK sequenced cases. We need urgent research to figure out if this delta plus is more transmissible, has partial immune evasion?" tweeted Gottlieb. "The variant has been in the UK since about July, but it has been slowly increasing in prevalence. There's no clear indication that it's considerably more transmissible, but we should work to more quickly characterize these and other new variants. We have the tools. This is not a cause for immediate concern but a reminder that we need robust systems to identify, characterize new variants. This needs to be a coordinated, global priority for Covid same as similar international efforts have become standard practice in influenza."

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Is Delta Plus Spreading?

Healthcare worker with protective equipment performs coronavirus swab on a woman.

Is Delta Plus spreading? "That depends where you look. Gottlieb said in his tweet that the AY.4 version of Delta Plus is spreading in the U.K. and now accounts for 8% of all genome-sequenced cases there. It is also on the rise in India. However, the global picture does not yet suggest Delta Plus is taking off across most of the world. This suggests it cannot outcompete Delta itself," says Fortune. What are the chances there's a variant worse than Delta? "Very low likelihood," said virus expert Ashish Jha this week. "Like, I don't know if there's a 5% or less—Delta is really contagious and something's going to have to really out-compete it. And it seems a low likelihood, you know, every, a few days, if you read the Twitter thread from [virus expert] Eric Feigl-Ding, there's a, oh my God, there is another variant. Right. Remember Mew for like five days. Everybody was asking me about the Mew there. And then there was a Lambda for a week. These are important. It's possible. One of them were really displaced Delta I'm I guess I'm unconvinced."

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Meanwhile, Dr. Fauci Said More Police Officers Died of COVID Than Anything Else

The Chicago police union told its members to ignore the city's Oct. 15 deadline for reporting their vaccination status. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was asked about it. What's Fauci's take? "I'm not comfortable with telling people what they should do under normal circumstances, but we are not in normal circumstances right now," Fauci explained. "Take the police: We now know the statistics, more police officers die of COVID than they do any other causes of death. So it doesn't make any sense to not try to protect yourself, as well as the colleagues that you work with," he said on Fox News Sunday. "Think about the implications of not getting vaccinated when you're in a position where you have a responsible job, and you want to protect yourself because you're needed at your job, whether you're a police officer or a pilot or any other of those kinds of occupations," Fauci said.

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Dr. Fauci Said You Can Enjoy Halloween Among Those Who are Vaccinated

Happy family celebrating Halloween

"For groups that have vaccinated, I think we can enjoy the holiday season. I get asked that all the time, you know, trick or treating and Halloween, Thanksgiving with the family, when you're in the family unit, among people who are vaccinated, I think you should just enjoy the holidays as best you can in the family spirit. For those who are not vaccinated first, I would encourage them very strongly to get vaccinated, but if they're not, they should do what the CDC recommends is when you're in an indoor setting, in a public indoor setting to wear a mask, it's very important. We know that masks work and they could greatly diminish the likelihood that you're going to get infected, which is another reason why we keep saying why it's so important to get vaccinated, because not only will it be good for your own health and that of your, it will make it much easier for you to enjoy the kinds of things in society that you'd like to enjoy."

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How to Stay Safe Out There

Nurse with face mask sitting at home with senior woman and injecting covid 19 vaccine.

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