Coronavirus cases are going down—quickly—but experts warn we’re in a race against time. Vaccines are being distributed but new COVID-19 mutants are more transmissible, and possibly more lethal. In the words of one expert: A Category 5 hurricane may be coming. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said we still need to be careful, and appeared on CNN’s State of the Union with a warning. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
Dr. Fauci Said We Have to Be Prepared for Another Surge—and Fight Against It
So will there be another surge? “I think you always want to be prepared for that type of thing,” said Dr. Fauci. “I don't think at all, that it is inevitable that that will happen. The way you mitigate against that data is you do two things. You continue to abide by the public health measures and recommendations of universal wearing of masks, keeping physical distance, avoiding congregate settings, particularly indoors, washing your hands. The things that we speak about all the time, that's a very good way to prevent any infection, be it a variant or not. The other thing that's important that our viewers should appreciate is that the vaccines that we are currently distributing now, the Moderna and the Pfizer vaccines, work very well against the UK variant the 117. So the better we do at getting vaccine into people's arms as quickly and as expeditiously as possible, that will be another important tool against preventing this additional spike that we want to make sure it does not happen with the UK variant.” Keep reading to hear about how many doses of the vaccine to get.
Dr. Fauci Says Two Doses are Better Than One
New research out of Israel shows the Pfizer vaccine may be super-effective after just one dose. So why not distribute just one dose in America, thus making more doses available instantly? “We want to do things based on the science,” answered Fauci. “First of all, there are two scenarios. The one you're talking about—the Pfizer—giving one dose and having a good degree of protection versus what they're doing in the UK. So let me very briefly explain both the Pfizer situation where they gave a vaccine. And after a period of time, at 15 to 28 days, they had good protection. What we don't know, and this is the risky business about it: We don't know how durable that effect is going to be. We know for sure that when you give a prime with the Pfizer followed by a boost 21 days later, that you get a 94 to 95% efficacy. And the difference between the level of antibodies after one dose versus two doses is about 10 fold higher.”
That Extra Protection is Essential as the Virus Mutates, Says Fauci
“That is really important because when you have that higher degree comparable to the single dose alone, that's the cushion that you would like to have when you get a variant that isn't as well protected against by the antibodies induced by the vaccine, but you have enough level to be able to prevent at least severe disease,” said Fauci. “So the science points directly towards continuing with what we know about from the clinical trial. Now we always keep an open mind to continue to look at data and make decisions based on the evidence in the data very quickly, the situation with the UK, a bit different, because they're talking about an entirely different vaccine platform.”
Dr. Fauci Wishes More People Could be Vaccinated Now
“Obviously you want to do more and more,” said Fauci. “We're at 1.5 [million shots a day], we were up to 1.8 a bit ago. Of course, you'd like to see it over to—you'd like to see that happen. So what are we doing? We've been contracting with the companies to get commitments for more doses. Number one, the important thing is when you get the doses, getting them into people's arms. And as the president has said multiple times a day, we're doing community vaccine centers, particularly in those areas where you have demographic groups that are generally underserved, we're putting more vaccines into pharmacies. We're using mobile units to go out into underserved areas to do that. And we're getting what's called vaccinators—people who can actually put the vaccine into people's arms. All of those things of being pushed very, very—I would say aggressively to make sure we get those vaccines into people's arms as quickly as we possibly can.”
Dr. Fauci Says More Schools Should be Able to Open Soon
The CDC released new rules for opening schools just last week. ”What the CDC is trying to do is look at the risks that you have and try—if you follow the CDC guidelines—to get the children back in school, at least with hybrid,” said Fauci. “And maybe even when you actually have increased spacing with them, that you can get it in what's called a decreased capacity. If you do the four or five things that the CDC recommends, the bottom line goal that I think people need to remember is that, and I've said this way before the CDC guidelines came out, that the default position is to do whatever you can, as best as you can to get the children back to school, with safety concerns for the children and for the teachers and the educational personnel. And that's what we're trying to do. That's what the is talking about, about getting those K to 12 schools open within the first hundred days.”
How to Stay Safe During This Pandemic
Follow Fauci’s fundamentals and help end this surge, 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.