Fauci: US Headed in Wrong Direction 07/26 06:25
WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) -- The United States is in an "unnecessary
predicament" of soaring COVID-19 cases fueled by unvaccinated Americans and the
virulent delta variant, the nation's top infectious diseases expert said Sunday.
"We're going in the wrong direction," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, describing
himself as "very frustrated."
He said recommending that the vaccinated wear masks is "under active
consideration" by the government's leading public health officials. Also,
booster shots may be suggested for people with suppressed immune systems who
have been vaccinated, Fauci said.
Fauci, who also serves as President Joe Biden's chief medical adviser, told
CNN's "State of the Union" that he has taken part in conversations about
altering the mask guidelines.
He noted that some local jurisdictions where infection rates are surging,
such as Los Angeles County, are already calling on individuals to wear masks in
indoor public spaces regardless of vaccination status. Fauci said those local
rules are compatible with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
recommendation that the vaccinated do not need to wear masks in public.
More than 163 million people, or 49% of the total U.S. population, are fully
vaccinated, according to CDC data. Of those eligible for the vaccine, aged 12
and over, the figure rises to 57%.
"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," Fauci said.
Fauci said government experts are reviewing early data as they consider
whether to recommend that vaccinated individuals to get booster shots. He
suggested that some of the most vulnerable, such as organ transplant and cancer
patients, are "likely" to be recommended for booster shots.
He also praised Republicans, including Govs. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas and
Ron DeSantis of Florida, and the second-ranking House leader, Rep. Steve
Scalise of Louisiana, for encouraging their constituents to get vaccinated.
Their states have among the lowest vaccination rates in the country.
"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," Fauci said.