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Virus Experts Issue This "Significant" Warning

Things are going from bad to worse, they warn. Here’s how to stay safe.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

On a day when, according to CBS News, "Florida set a state record for COVID hospitalizations for the third straight day—with more than 11,500 patients—and Florida and Texas together have about one third of all the new COVID cases in America," debate broke out over who is to blame? Policy-makers? The unvaccinated? Immigrants? Virus experts have their answer: We're all in some kind of danger until everyone gets vaccinated. Because the Delta variant is here. And the longer we let it run free, the more chances it has to mutate into something possibly far worse, something that hurts us all. Read on for five life-saving pieces of advice that every American needs to know—the latest from virus experts—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 Warns of 200,000 Cases a Day in America's Future

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"What we're seeing, because of this increase in transmissibility, and because we have about 93 million people in this country who are eligible to get vaccinated who don't get vaccinated — that you have a significant pool of vulnerable people," Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told McClatchy. "And so when you look at the curve of acceleration of 7-day averages of cases per day, it is going up in a very steep fashion," he said. "Remember, just a couple of months ago, we were having about 10,000 cases a day," he said. "I think you're likely going to wind up somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 cases."

2

There is Already a "Delta-Plus" And More Mutations Could Come

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"[Q]uite frankly, we're very lucky that the vaccines that we have now do very well against the variants — particularly against severe illness," Fauci said. "If another one comes along that has an equally high capability of transmitting but also is much more severe, then we could really be in trouble," he said. "People who are not getting vaccinated mistakenly think it's only about them. But it isn't. It's about everybody else, also." In fact, there is already a "Delta-Plus" in some countries. "How India has weathered the devastation of the delta variant and how it has named the delta-plus variant as one of concern should place public health leaders on notice, said James E.K. Hildreth, president and chief executive of Meharry Medical College," to the Washington Post. "We've got to be more willing to consider observations made in other countries dealing with [the coronavirus]…Again, we saw what happen with delta in India and how quickly it spread … Why would we think the delta-plus variant would be different?"

3

Virus Expert Says if Louisiana Was a Country, It'd Have the "Highest Rate of Cases in the Entire World"

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"We don't really know why surges occur, what happens that suddenly causes a big increase in cases," said Dr. Michael Osterholm, epidemiologist, Regents Professor, and Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. "And why do we see as a very sudden drop, within five to seven weeks of the top of the surge that's been happening around the world, I expect the same to happen here, I think probably another four to five weeks. And w're going to see these numbers drop precipitously. But in the meantime, w're in trouble. Right now, tonight, if Louisiana was a country, it would actually have the highest rate of cases in the entire world for any country. That's how bad things are. And I don`t think people yet really understand that that's the challenge we have for these next five to six or seven weeks."

4

Virus Expert Warns Your Cloth Mask May Not Be Enough

Brunette woman wearing a KN95 FPP2 mask.
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Wear an N95 mask—not a cloth mask—for protection against Delta, say experts like former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb. One expert agrees: "You know I wish we could get rid of the term masking because in fact it implies that anything you put in front of your face works and if I could just add an nuance to that which hopefully doesn't add more confusion is we know today that many of the face cloth coverings that people wear are not very effective in reducing any of the virus movement in or out," says Dr. Osterholm. "Either you're breathing out or you're breathing in and in fact if you're in the upper Midwest right now anybody who's wearing their face cloth covering can tell you they can smell all the smoke that we're still getting…We need to talk about better masking. We need to talk about N95 respirators which would do a lot for both people who are not yet vaccinated or are not previously infected. Protecting them as well as keeping others who might become infected having been vaccinated from breathing out the virus."

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

5

Virus Expert Says Vaccine Mandates Create Safe Spaces

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New York City is mandating vaccines for entry to restaurants and gyms. "I do believe what New York City is doing is really reasonable," Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University's School of Public Health, told CBS. "This is a choice issue for some people. They don't want to be vaccinated. I understand that. But if you want to participate in a restaurant, if you want to go to a hospital, you want to go into a university, it makes a lot of sense for those institutions to say, 'We want everybody vaccinated and it creates a safe space for people.'"

6

Virus Expert Says More and More Unvaccinated People Are Finally Getting the Message—Are You?

Young woman taking a vaccine from her doctor.
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"We're in a very unfortunate situation, we've really brought this country to a point of confusion which really misses the main point that we should be focusing on vaccine, vaccine, vaccine," said Dr. Osterholm. "One of the heartening things I have seen in the recent days is that a lot of people in these places that have had low vaccinations are stepping up, are deciding that they want to protect themselves. They want to protect their families. They're seeing what's happening in their communities and getting vaccinated. Of course I wish people had gotten vaccinated earlier, but at this point, we've got to do everything we can to protect people. And that means getting more and more vaccinated."

RELATED: 9 Everyday Habits That Might Lead to Dementia

7

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