The United States is in an “unnecessary predicament” of the surge in COVID-19 cases fueled by unvaccinated Americans and the virulent delta variant, the country’s top infectious disease expert said on Sunday.
“We are going in the wrong direction,” said Dr Anthony Fauci, describing himself as “very frustrated”.
He said the recommendation that vaccinated people wear masks was “under review” by senior government public health officials. Additionally, booster shots may be suggested for people with weakened immune systems who have been vaccinated, Fauci said.
Fauci, who is also the chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, told CNN’s “State of the Union” that he had participated in conversations about changing the mask guidelines.
He noted that some local jurisdictions with rising infection rates, such as Los Angeles County, are already calling on individuals to wear masks in public regardless of their vaccination status. Fauci said these local rules are consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation that vaccinees do not need to wear masks in public.
Nearly 163 million people, or 49% of the eligible U.S. population, are vaccinated, according to CDC data.
“It’s a problem mostly among the unvaccinated, which is why we’re out there, practically begging the unvaccinated people to come out and get the vaccine,” Fauci said.
Fauci said government experts were reviewing the first data as they considered recommending that vaccinated people receive booster shots. He suggested that some of the more vulnerable, such as organ transplants and cancer patients, are “likely” to be recommended for booster shots.
He also praised Republicans, including governors. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas and Ron DeSantis of Florida, and Second House Leader, Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, for encouraging their constituents to get vaccinated. Their states have one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country.
“What I would really like to see is more and more leaders in these areas who are not vaccinating to come out, speak out and encourage people to get vaccinated,” Fauci said.
Hutchinson, also speaking on CNN, said he was unsure whether he had perhaps underestimated people’s reluctance to be vaccinated, but acknowledged that “resistance has hardened in some. elements and is simply false information. They are myths. As I was on my way to these public meetings, someone said to me, “Don’t call it a vaccine. Call it a biological weapon. And they talk about mind control. Well, these are clearly wrong. Other members of the community are correcting this. “
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