More 'pain and suffering' in US ahead as COVID cases rise
America’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, warned Sunday that more “pain and suffering” is on the horizon across the US as COVID-19 cases climb again.
Fauci, who serves as the director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the chief medical advisor to the US president, made the warning as US officials plead with unvaccinated Americans to get their shots.
He said not enough Americans are inoculated to “crush the outbreak” at this point.
Fauci's remarks comes days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed course to recommend that even vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in parts of the US where the delta variant is fueling infection surges.
With the switch, federal health officials have cited studies showing vaccinated people can spread the virus to others.
Most new infections in the US continue to be among unvaccinated people. So-called breakthrough infections can occur in vaccinated people, and though the vast majority of those cause mild or no symptoms, the research shows they can carry about the same amount of the coronavirus as those who did not get the shots.
“So 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,” Fauci told ABC News.
According to data through July 30 from Johns Hopkins University, the seven-day rolling average for daily new cases in the US rose from 30,887 on July 16 to 77,827 on July 30.
The seven-day rolling average for the country's daily new deaths rose over the same period from 253 on July 16 to 358 on July 30, though death reports generally lag weeks after infections and even longer after hospitalizations.
Currently, 58% of Americans 12 years and older are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC's data tracker.
Louisiana, which has the most new cases per capita among US states in the past 14 days, has seen vaccinations up threefold over that period, Collins said.