Dr. Fauci Just Issued This "Important" COVID Update

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Dr. Anthony Fauci appeared as a guest on the The Takeout podcast from CBS News, hosted by Major Garrett. Garrett was recording the podcast from his apartment after testing positive for COVID-19—even though he is double vaccinated and double boosted. "So you were infected, which has proven something that I think we've all known, but I think you're the personification of this," says Dr. Fauci. "This is a highly transmissible virus, and it is very likely that if you were not vaccinated and double boosted, that you would've had a much more severe outcome than you have right now. And you and I very unlikely would be speaking to each other right now." Here is what Dr. Fauci says will happen next with the COVID-19 virus. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.

1

Garrett Took Paxlovid

dical worker holding medicine package box, Pfizer PAXLOVID antiviral drug,cure for Coronavirus infection,COVID-19 virus disease prevention
dical worker holding medicine package box, Pfizer PAXLOVID antiviral drug,cure for Coronavirus infection,COVID-19 virus disease prevention

"For the audience who is not aware of it, Paxlovid is an antiviral drug that has a very good capability to the tune of almost 90% of preventing people from requiring hospitalizations and going on to severe disease," says Dr. Fauci. "So the fact that you were aware enough to seek the help of a physician who would prescribe Paxlovid is very important. And in fact, right now we are ratcheting up both the awareness of, and the availability of Paxlovid throughout the country. We are doubling the number of sites that have Paxlovid available from 20,000 to 40,000… So one of the lessons I want to get those who are listening to our conversation is that we are making a lot more Paxlovid available to people to utilize, and it is being underutilized, and we want to make sure people are aware of it. "

2

BA.2.12.1 Is Causing a Surge

Female lab researcher in PPE clothes is holding test tube labelled BA.2.
Female lab researcher in PPE clothes is holding test tube labelled BA.2.

'It is correct that particularly with this variant and the isolate that you were infected with was very likely BA.2.12.1, which is a sublineage of the original Omicron," says Dr. Fauci. "So what we've had over the last several months is a gradation of BA.1, BA.2, BA.2.12.1, which means just enough mutations to change it a bit, make it a little bit more transmissible, and evade immunity a little bit. But the one thing that is held strong in protection is protection against systemic disease, particularly lung disease. However, the upper airway has become a vulnerable target, which is the reason why, when you're dealing with an environment where you are having an upsurge of cases, the CDC isn't mandating anything. They're suggesting and recommending that when you live in a zone where the cases are going up from a green to a yellow, to an orange, that the better part of valor is to protect yourself from infection by wearing a mask when you are in an indoor congregate setting."

3

Is It Allergies or COVID-19?

Sick woman working from home office.
Sick woman working from home office.

"You don't want people to be walking around completely anxious and very panicky—that's disruptive to their lives," says Dr. Fauci. "But if you have upper airway symptoms that may or may not be distinguishable from allergies, there are so many tests available that you recommend people who do get upper airway symptoms get tested. That's the point, that's the reason why we have literally tens of millions of tests, anybody can get tested. We know now, yes, you can go to your computer and get eight tests sent to your household. So we want to make sure people freely and liberally use tests to determine whether they're infected or not."

4

Are We In a Fifth Wave?

Woman removing face mask from her face outdoors.
Woman removing face mask from her face outdoors.

"We are certainly having a number of cases that have increased," says Dr. Fauci. "Remember, we went down a few months ago from a very, very high peak of 900,000 cases a day, tens of thousands of hospitalizations and 3000 deaths—that came all the way down from that Omicron peak to an average of about 25,000 cases a day. Right now, we're starting to see an increase in cases for three reasons. One, we're seeing a waning of immunity. That's in individuals like yourself and me who actually have been vaccinated, that the immunity for infection and the immunity following vaccination is good for a while and for a long while against severe disease, but it wanes against infection. Point number two, you have a variant that is a more transmissible variant than the previous one. And then, people are pulling back on mitigation. They're pulling back, they're taking their masks off. They're being more free to be out and about without masks in an indoor setting, particularly if it gets warmer, they go into an air conditioned place, an air conditioned restaurant, or what have you. So the cases are going up—the daily averages now over 100,000 a day, should we be calling that a wave? I'm not so sure. I think it's a bit of semantics. I think we should say we are seeing an increase in infections. That's the sober news."

5

If You're Unvaccinated, You're At Risk

Doctor with a syringe of COVID-19 vaccine and a patient's hand refusing.
Doctor with a syringe of COVID-19 vaccine and a patient's hand refusing.

"If you look at the data—and this is the compelling part, that we should take a deep breath and emphasize it—if you look at the hospitalization among individuals who are unvaccinated on a per 100,000 people who are unvaccinated, compared to the hospitalizations and deaths among those who are vaccinated and boosted, the curves are separated by a large amount. In other words, the likelihood of getting into trouble is multifold more if you're unvaccinated compared to vaccinated. Now, when you look at the fact that the more people are vaccinated, when you have the overwhelming majority, there are going to be some people who are hospitalized, even though they're vaccinated. But when you compare the risk of hospitalization in an unvaccinated compared to a vaccinated person, the risk of the vaccinated person is much, much less than the unvaccinated person."

6

Trust the Data

Scientists and microbiologists with PPE suit and face mask hold test tube and microscope in lab
Scientists and microbiologists with PPE suit and face mask hold test tube and microscope in lab

"Don't listen to an individual person, listen to the data, and the data tells you that if you want to protect yourself against severe disease leading to perhaps hospitalization and death, vaccines do a really, really good job of that. It's a bit different than flu—you know, flu, we have vaccines. They are not nearly as effective as the vaccines against COVID. Does that mean we shouldn't vaccinate against the flu? No, because you do get a clear benefit from a vaccine against flu, but the protection against severe disease with COVID is excellent when you have a vaccine."

7

Should We Worry About Monkeypox?

Blood sample tube for Monkeypox virus test.
Blood sample tube for Monkeypox virus test.

"Monkeypox is a viral disease that has existed for a very long period of time, and was recognized decades ago from an animal host that jumped into a human," says Dr. Fauci. "It has characteristics that are similar to smallpox, but it's a much, much less severe disease. It's not as severe, it's a disease that generally dissipates itself in two to four weeks. People generally recover completely… What our listeners need to know is that we do have countermeasures that work against monkeypox. So although we're keeping an eye out on it, we are not panicking. And we have interventions for it. It's of note that people who have been vaccinated decades ago, like myself are likely vaccinated with smallpox also. So the durability of protection is measured in decades and decades, and it's very likely that the residual immunity you have from your smallpox vaccination will give you some degree of protection against monkeypox. We can't say that for every person that's been vaccinated, but as a group, the people who've received smallpox vaccination are very likely protected against monkeypox."

8

Be Careful Out There

Group of young friends making a toast at a dinner party
Group of young friends making a toast at a dinner party

"If you're going to gather with people in an indoor setting, you might want to go the extra mile and get tested yourself and ask the people who are coming to get tested, because we know that there are a number of organizations that are saying that if we're gonna have a gathering of some sort, I want to show that you're vaccinated and that you've been tested. If you are in a region where there is a high level of transmissibility, an orange or a red zone, when you are in an indoor setting, consider wearing a mask, it gives you that extra level of protection. The fact that we're dealing with Memorial Day, where most of the country has really pleasant weather, no matter where you are, try to do things outdoors, which is much, much safer than doing something indoors. Those are just some of the fundamental principles that can allow you to enjoy the holiday, to mix with friends, not encroach upon any of your liberties, but still keep you safe." 

 

9

How to Stay Safe Out There

Woman in medical face mask getting Covid-19 vaccine at the hospital
Woman in medical face mask getting Covid-19 vaccine at the hospital

Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated or boosted 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.