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COVID cases are finally trending downward, slowly, but that’s no reason to stop being careful, warned the experts at today’s COVID briefing. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, also appeared on The Interview With Hugh Hewitt to discuss the pandemic. Read on for 7 life-saving pieces of advice—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.
Hewitt asked Fauci about basketball player Kyrie Irving, who has expressed vaccine skepticism. “I think you have to put it into perspective of what is going on in the country with regard to COVID-19,” said Dr. Fauci, adding we are now “inching close to 700,000 deaths with a vaccine that unequivocally from a scientific and public health standpoint has been shown to be highly effective and safe. And although I do respect people’s individual rights to make their decisions, there is also a part of it that I refer to as a societal responsibility. And although there are individual choices that people can make when you’re dealing with a deadly pandemic, you’ve got to also understand your responsibility to the society within which you live. So I wouldn’t want to be pointing a finger at this young man, but I would hope to be able to get him to understand that by allowing the virus to infect you, even though as an individual, you say, I’ll take my own chances. I don’t care. I’m young, I’m healthy. The likelihood that I’m going to get a serious disease is low, which is true. You can’t deny that. But what happens is that when you do get infected, it’s very likely that you might pass that infection on to someone who would suffer very terribly from that virus. So you don’t want to be a vehicle for the propagation of an outbreak that unequivocally has devastated society.”
“One point that I think is important to make, as I think that the people who are unvaccinated when they see the curves starting to come down, that is not a reason to remain on vaccinated, because if you want to ensure that we get down to a very low level and that we don’t research again, we still got to get a very large proportion of those 70 million people who are eligible to be vaccinated who have not been vaccinated, we’ve got to get them vaccinated,” said Dr. Fauci at the briefing. “So it’s good news that we’re starting to see a turning around of the curve and coming down that is not an excuse to walk away from the issue of needing to get vaccinated.”
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What should one say to vaccine skeptics? “You tell them that it’s untrue,” said Dr. Fauci. “I mean, the fact is these are people they’re not stupid people, and yet they are somehow or other been convinced of things that are just not factual. You look at the data, the data are overwhelming that these are highly effective and safe. And if you look at the track record of vaccines in general, what they’ve done for society and the benefit risk ratio overwhelmingly weighs in favor of the benefit. And it’s just factual. I mean, sometimes it’s an inexplicable that people can look at data and just say it doesn’t exist. I mean, it does.”
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The FDA and CDC recommended Pfizer boosters for those who gor Pfizer six months ago who are over 65, at high risk or are frontline workers. Fauci feels every Pfizer person should get one. “The recommendation had a strong dichotomy. It seems like they were saying it is okay, as long as you don’t wind up in the hospital and die,” he said. “So if the vaccine efficacy wanes for infection, mild and moderate disease, that’s okay. You don’t really need a boost to now, as long as the vaccine efficacy for hospitalization prevention doesn’t wane. I don’t feel that way. I feel we need to protect not only from getting people in the hospital, that’s very, very important, but we don’t want people to get sick because if you get COVID, yes, you could get asymptomatic and you could get mild disease. However, you can also get pretty sick and not necessarily have to go to the hospital.”
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“We didn’t know things early on,” admitted Dr. Fauci to Hewitt. “I always get asked the question. It’s a very common question. What would you have done back then? If you knew what you know, now the question answers itself. If I knew, then what I know now, the circumstances would have been different. So if this were a completely static situation, you and people change their mind and change their recommendations and things. You say, my goodness, they’re flip-flopping what’s going on, but it’s been an evolving situation from day one. We had no idea that a virus that could actually kill so many people would be completely asymptomatic in about 50 to 60% of people. And that many of the infections, almost half were transmitted by people who had no symptoms. That’s where the mask situation got all muddled. You know that, I mean, I’m telling you something, you know, and I can understand when people are looking for definitive answers in an evolving situation, it doesn’t work that way.”
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Hewitt asked Fauci is his time was up as an effective spokesperson, given the anti-Fauci feelings among some. No, said Fauci, “There are an awful lot of people who do listen, who do the right thing from a public health standpoint,” he said. “So because there are a lot of people who have ideas about conspiracies and changing minds, and flip-flopping, that’s not a reason to step down and not at all. When I was involved 40 years ago with HIV and the activist community were looking at me as a representative of the face of the federal government. And we’re trying to get things done. And it looked like we were at odds in the sense of… essentially being hostile to each other, which we weren’t… I brought them into the dialogue, into the discussion and the world and the community were much better off with that. So the idea that people right now are not listening to what I’m saying, what I’m saying is the truth.”
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Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, 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, 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.
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