Dr. Fauci Just Warned of a "Fourth Wave" of COVID

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Alek Korab
·4 min read
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With coronavirus vaccines doled out at a record pace—3 million in just one day recently—you may be forgiven for thinking the coronavirus pandemic is basically over. It isn’t. 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 Sunday morning news shows to address just that, saying we’re close to the end of the tunnel but could always be toppled by a “fourth wave.”Read on for his warning—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.

Dr. Fauci Said “There’s Always a Risk of a Surge Back Up”

On Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace shared some stats that put things in perspective: “First, the seven day average of new cases, which spike dramatically in January, are down sharply, but still over 50,000 per day.” In fact, they have plateaued. He then showed the number of deaths per day, “which also is down sharply." But…they are “still higher” than they were “during the very concerning spike last July.” Wallace had two questions: “Is it too soon to say that we are in the process of beating this virus and what are the chances that this could still turn around and we could end up with a fourth wave?”

“That's the critical question, Chris,” answered Fauci. “And when you see a plateau, we're very pleased by the sharp decline that you show. But when you see a plateauing at a level of any way between 50 and 65,000 cases a day, that is absolutely no time to declare victory, because we know from previous searches that we've had over the year, that when you see that leveling off at a high level, there's always the risk of a surge back up,” he said. “And in fact, unfortunately, that's exactly what is happening in Europe right now. They had the same kind of decline. They always seem to be a few weeks ahead of us in the dynamics of the outbreak. Then they plateaued because they pulled back a bit. They thought that they were home free and they weren't. And now they're seeing an increase up.”

“We have to avoid that Chris,” said Fauci, “we're going in the right direction. Vaccines, every day, we get more and more people vaccinated, which gets us closer and closer to a better protection. To pull back now, prematurely, would be ill-advised.”

Dr. Fauci Said He Gets Anxious About Pulling Back on Public Health Measures

Dr. Fauci echoed these sentiments on Meet the Press later in the morning. “I don't think there's much that's going to prevent us from having quantitatively the number of vaccines that the President promised” unless there’s some major production glitch, said Fauci. “More of a concern than I have is that we'll have what's called variant increases where you may have another surge. If you look at the numbers that have gone down, they've gone down so nicely in a very steep decline, but in the last couple of weeks, we've had a plateauing of infections. And the thing that concerns me as, because it's history, it proves that I should be concerned is that when you get a plateau at a level around 60,000 new infections per day, there's always the risk of another surge. And that's the thing we really want to avoid because we are going in the right directions.”

“That's why I get so anxious,” said Fauci, “when I hear pulling back completely on public health measures, like saying no more masks, no, nothing like that. I mean, that is a risky business.”

RELATED: Dr. Fauci Just Said This is the Best Vaccine to Get

Here’s How to Make Sure We Don’t Get a Fourth Wave

“Even though the decline was steep, we absolutely need to avoid the urge to say, ‘Oh, everything is going great,’ which it is going in the right direction,” said Dr. Fauci. “But once you declare victory, you know, that metaphor that people say, if you're going for a touchdown, don't spike the ball on the five yard line waiting till you get into the end zone. And we're not in the end zone yet. And that's one of the issues, is always the risk of a surge. That's exactly what the Europeans have experienced.”

So follow Fauci’s fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—wear a face mask that fits snugly and is double layered, 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, 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.