The US’s top infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci revealed on Sunday that vaccinated Americans might have to start wearing masks again, given the rise in the country of Delta variant Covid cases.
Dr Fauci also said that he is “very frustrated” that unvaccinated Americans are taking the country in what he described as the “wrong direction” and that they might become the reason the Biden administration reinstates a blanket mask mandate.
The White House’s chief medical adviser said that unvaccinated Americans have put the country in an “unnecessary predicament”.
Dr Fauci told CNN’s State of the Union – hosted by Jake Tapper and Dana Bash — that the increase in the Delta variant in America is “overwhelmingly targeting unvaccinated Americans”.
In May, US president Joe Biden said that he aimed to have at least 70 per cent of Americans having received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine by 4 July. As per the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data, nearly 163 million people — that is 49 per cent of the eligible US population — are vaccinated.
Talking about the possibility of altering the mask guidelines, Dr Fauci also noted that some local jurisdictions like Los Angeles County have already asked residents to wear masks in indoor public places.
Dr Fauci said: “This is an issue predominantly among the unvaccinated, which is the reason why we’re out there, practically pleading with the unvaccinated people to go out and get vaccinated.”
He also said that health authorities are “reviewing early data as they consider whether to recommend that vaccinated individuals get booster shots”.
He did add that “some of the most vulnerable — such as organ transplant and cancer patients, are likely to be recommended for booster shots.” He said: “Those who are transplant patients, cancer chemotherapy, auto-immune diseases, that are on immunosuppressant regimens, those are the kind of individuals that if there’s going to be a third booster, which might likely happen, would be among first the vulnerable.”
Praising governors Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas and Ron DeSantis of Florida, he said that he wished more leaders would start speaking about getting vaccinated. He also praised Steve Scalise of Louisiana for encouraging people to get their shots. All three are Republicans.
Dr Fauci said: “What I would really like to see is more and more of the leaders in those areas that are not vaccinating to get out and speak out and encourage people to get vaccinated.”
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