With the delta variant of the COVID-19 coronavirus surging through the country, Dr. Anthony Fauci warned on Sunday that “things will get worse” but added he believes lockdowns would not be returning.
Speaking ABC’s “This Week”, Fauci said he does not believe lockdowns would be returning but stressed getting vaccinated is the best defense against this ever-changing virus.
“I don’t think we’re gonna see lockdowns. I think we have enough of the percentage of people in the country — not enough to crush the outbreak — but I believe enough to not allow us to get into the situation we were in last winter. But things are going to get worse,” he said.
“From the standpoint of illness, hospitalization, suffering, and death, the unvaccinated are much more vulnerable because the vaccinated are protected from severe illness, for the most part, but when you look at the country as a whole. And getting us back to normal, the unvaccinated, by not being vaccinated, are allowing the propagation and the spread of the outbreak which ultimately impacts everybody,” he added.
The news comes following a frustrating week that saw an investigation of the coronavirus in Provincetown, Massachusetts, uncovered the delta variant may be able to spread to those who are fully vaccinated.
That data helped the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) bring back mask guidelines in areas of high or substantial spread of the virus. However, breakthrough cases in vaccinated individuals are extremely rare and do not result in hospitalization or death.
“You want them to wear a mask, so that if in fact they do get infected, they don’t spread it to vulnerable people, perhaps in their own household, children, or people with underlying conditions,” Fauci said.
President Joe Biden on Thursday announced a new vaccine policy for all federal workers and onsite contractors, asking them to “attest to their vaccination status,” and require anyone not fully vaccinated to wear a mask at work, social distance, and get tested once or twice a week.
“Your decision to be unvaccinated impacts someone else,” Biden said. “Unvaccinated people spread the virus.”
Biden’s new policy was met with criticism from some unions, who argue the new requirement is a violation of civil liberties.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg pushed back against those claims and said this is about getting out of this pandemic and union workers can set a good example for those holding out to get the vaccine.
“Look, we have so many obligations in so many dimensions of employee safety, to make sure that this is a safe workplace,” Buttigieg said. “This is part of that. But it’s also important, I think, for our federal workforce to lead by example because we’re asking the whole country to do what it takes to make sure that we get beyond this pandemic.”
Still, Biden’s statement on Friday before departing for Camp David that “in all probability,” the country could see new guidance and restrictions due to the surge has been met with pushback from Republican lawmakers.
Arizona’s Doug Ducey, and Florida’s Ron DeSantis both responded by saying it is up to the individual to decide if they want to wear a mask or get the vaccine, not the federal government.
“The fact is, if you get infected, even if you are without symptoms, you very well may infect another person who may be vulnerable,” Fauci said on that issue.