WASHINGTON (Dispatches) – Anthony Fauci, the United States’ top infectious disease expert, is warning of “some pain and suffering in the future” in the country as coronavirus cases continue to rise.
Fauci, speaking on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, warned that the situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic will continue to get worse because so many Americans are still unvaccinated.
While this week the country saw a surge in Americans getting the shot, as coronavirus cases rise driven largely by the more infectious delta variant, still only about 60% of Americans are fully vaccinated.
“We have 100 million people in this country who are eligible to be vaccinated who are not getting vaccinated,” Fauci, who is also director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in the interview.
Fauci argued that the unvaccinated are affecting others because they’re “allowing the propagation and the spread of the outbreak,” and pushed back against critics who say whether to get the shot is an individual decision.
However, he said he does not expect the United States will return to the policy of lockdowns, despite a growing threat of COVID-19 infections posed by the highly transmissible Delta variant.
“I don’t think we’re going to see lockdowns,” he stated.
In the past 10 days, the average number of new cases has nearly doubled and the number of hospitalized patients in many states is surging, according to a Reuters analysis.
The U.S. has plunged into confusion over wearing face masks as the Delta variant wreaks havoc across the country.
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was forced to reverse its mask guidance after a new study showed the Delta COVID-19 variant produced similar amounts of virus in both vaccinated and unvaccinated people who were infected by it, alike.
The CDC Director said on Friday there will be no nationwide mandate for Americans to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
Meanwhile, scientists have warned that Britain faces the prospect of thousands of annual COVID deaths for years to come.
They say waves of cases are likely to sweep the country every winter as COVID-19 joins other seasonal viruses, including influenza, in taking its toll of elderly and infirm people. Every year, as cold weather forces people indoors, virus transmission will increase, case numbers will rise, and some of these will result in deaths, The Guardian reported.
The warning comes as COVID case numbers look likely to stabilize through the summer, but with researchers saying incidence could rise again in autumn as vaccination rates falter and schools return. This could lead to a fourth wave this winter – one that could become an annual occurrence for years to come.
“We are going to see problems with COVID for a long time,” Prof. Adam Finn of Bristol University said.
“The virus has shown itself to be genetically more nimble than we expected, though not as much as the influenza virus. So I would envisage COVID being a continuing problem for some time, with annual death tolls reaching thousands and possibly tens of thousands,” he added.
This view was backed by Prof. James Naismith, director of the Rosalind Franklin Institute in Oxford.