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The coronavirus pandemic may be blunted by the COVID-19 vaccines, but a significant part of America's population is still at risk of a "serious consequence," warns the nation's top virus expert, so now is no time to get complacent. Speaking with PBS NewsHour's Judy Woodruff, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, urged the audience to get vaccinated—and gave a warning to a certain subset who are at big risk. Read on for 6 pieces of advice that could save your life—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs Your Illness is Actually Coronavirus in Disguise.
Dr. Fauci Warns That Young People are Getting Infected More Now, With a "Serious Consequence"
Addressing vaccine hesitancy, Dr. Fauci said: "Well, I think we have to keep trying to reach out and explain to people why it's so important. You know, there are a couple of aspects to it, and one of the things that we try to get across the people that they may not appreciate at first glance. And that is, if you have a younger person who will say, correctly and understandably, that, if you are young and healthy, the chances of your getting a serious outcome are very low, that is a fact and true. However, they are now seeing a lot more young people getting infected, particularly with this variant, the 117 from the U.K., which transmits clearly more efficiently than the original virus — and there's no doubt about that — that you have a danger of getting infected and you also have a danger of getting a serious consequence. The other thing that we want to impress upon people is that, even if you don't get any symptoms and you get infected, it doesn't end there, Judy. Ultimately, you may be responsible for someone getting seriously ill. You don't want to be part of the dynamics of the outbreak. You want to be part of the solution."
Dr. Fauci Said The Race Between the Variants and the Vaccines May Be at a "Turning Point"
"I think we really are at a turning point right now, and we're really at that point where we're just about seeing the crossing over, because, if you look at the curves, we're getting more and more people vaccinated. We're getting about three million people per day," said Dr. Fauci. "And yet the cases are at that high level of about 60,000 per day on a seven-day average. I believe, as we get more and more people vaccinated, you're going to start seeing a crossing of those curves, where you're going to start seeing the number of cases coming down, as the vaccine total number goes up. That's exactly what we saw in Israel."
Dr. Fauci Said it's Very Rare to Get COVID-19 After Vaccination, But it Happens
Some people do get COVID after their vaccine, known as a "breakthrough infection. "The CDC just reported on a few thousand of these. That sounds like a lot, but when you put it next to the denominator, the breakthrough infractions are a fraction of a fraction of the people who have gotten vaccinated," said Dr. Fauci. "So, although you don't like to see any breakthroughs, when you have a few thousand against the millions and millions of people who have been vaccinated, it is a very, very rare event to have a breakthrough for someone who has been vaccinated."
Dr. Fauci Was Asked About the Safety of Eating Out
"The CDC is going to be coming out with official guidelines," about wearing a mask outdoors after vaccination, or dining out. "You know, they already said about, in the home setting, if you are vaccinated, even if you're with unvaccinated people, you can take the mask off, you could have physical contact. The one thing people need to realize that, being vaccinated, the risk of everything you do is considerably less than if you are not vaccinated. So, going outside, you're going to be hearing a reevaluation of whether you're going to have to wear mask outside. That's being considered literally in real time now by the CDC. They have already said that travel is much, much safer when you have vaccination, when you have been vaccinated. The real critical issue is, it's also dependent upon the level of infection in the community. So, if the level of infection in the community is very low, and you don't have new variants going on, there are so many more things that a person who is vaccinated can do even without a mask."
Dr. Fauci Said He Thought More People Want the Vaccine Than Reports Indicate
"How hard is it going to be to get everybody else who you want to have the vaccine?" asked Woodruff, given the hesitancy among some people. "Yes, and that's what we're trying to address, Judy," says Dr. Fauci. "I mean, there are people who clearly are in the wait-and-see atmosphere. But when you have 140-plus-million people who have received at least one dose, I think the wait-and-see has gotten to the point where there's a very efficacious vaccine that, in the real world, is really doing very, very well in protecting people. The data we are getting in follow-up are indicating the vaccines are at least and maybe even more effective than what we saw with the clinical trial results. And we have situations now." He mentioned the "COVID-19 Community Corps to get trusted messages — messengers in the community, be they professional athletes, be they entertainers, be they members of the clergy, to go out and to explain to people why it's so important for their own safety, for that of their family, and really for the community in general to get vaccinated….And I think when the American people listen to the data of why it's so important to get vaccinated, I think you're going to see people get vaccinated at a greater rate than most people are expecting at this point."
Dr. Fauci Said the J&J Pause Wasn't a Major "Setback"
Regarding the Johnson&Johnson vaccine pause, Dr. Fauci said: "I don't think it has really been significant, Judy, particularly since, if they make the decision to go back out there and get this vaccine back in play, I think you're going to see people who, wanting to get this particular vaccine, will be lining up to get it…I think that the pause, although for a period of time there, some people felt that maybe that's going to diminish the confidence in the vaccine, I think, on the other hand, it might have the opposite effect, that, given the fact that this is such a rare event, the fact that this was paused indicates how seriously we take safety when we're dealing with vaccines. So, this should really encourage people and fortify the concept that safety is of critical importance." So get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, 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.