With coronavirus cases continually rising and millions of Americans remaining unvaccinated, Dr. Anthony Fauci on Sunday said he expects “things are going to get worse” in the U.S., while stopping short of predicting future lockdowns.
“We’re looking not, I believe, to lockdown but we’re looking to some pain and suffering in the future because we’re seeing the cases go up, which is the reason why we keep saying over and over again: The solution to this is get vaccinated and this would not be happening,” he said in an interview with ABC News’ “This Week.”
Fauci, who serves as President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, pointed to cases consistently rising since late June for his dread.
Back on June 19, the U.S. had a seven-day average of 11,473 new cases. The number is now more than six times that, with an average of 72,493 cases reported on Friday, according to data shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Fauci stressed those who are unvaccinated are fueling the outbreak, as they’re predominantly responsible for the virus’s spread.
“We have 100 million people in this country who are eligible to be vaccinated, who are not getting vaccinated,” he said. Just less than half of the U.S. is fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
“There are some breakthrough infections among vaccinated ― we expect that because no vaccine is 100% effective ― but in the breakthrough infections they are mostly mild or without symptoms,” he said. “Whereas the unvaccinated, who have a much, much, much greater chance of getting infected in the first place, are the ones that are vulnerable to getting severe illness that may lead to hospitalization, and in some cases death.”
While there’s a greater direct safety risk to the unvaccinated, Fauci stressed that not getting vaccinated ultimately impacts everyone, from the standpoint of everyone having to wear masks in public and inside schools and of businesses not resuming to normal. Those choosing not to get vaccinated also risk spreading the coronavirus to someone who is unable to get vaccinated due to health reasons.
“When you look at the country as a whole and getting us back to normal, the unvaccinated, by not being vaccinated, are allowing the propagation and the spread of the outbreak, which ultimately impacts everyone,” he said.