Coronavirus infections driven by the Delta variant in the US are growing “very rapidly” in the US and could double in the coming weeks to 200,000 per day, immunologist Anthony Fauci warned today. The country could find itself “in trouble” entering the fall, unless a large percentage of unvaccinated Americans decide to get vaccinated, as there is a real possibility that a new variant will emerge that challenges the effectiveness of existing vaccines, he said. Chief Medical Advisor to President Joe Biden in an interview with Mc Clatchy, who publishes 29 newspapers in 14 states.
“What we see – says Fauci, who is head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases – because of this increase in transmissibility, and because we have about 93 million people in this country who could get vaccinated but do not, is that ‘is a significant number of subjects vulnerable “to the disease. “And so, if we look at the acceleration curves of the daily seven-day case average, it’s going up very steeply,” he added. As of August 2, the seven-day moving average of positive cases was 84,389, according to the Atlanta CDC.
The highest number of cases recorded in a single day was 295,880 on January 7, 2021. By June 14, the daily cases had dropped to 8,069. “Remember – continues Fauci – just a couple of months ago, we had 100,000 cases a day. I think we will probably end up having between 100,000 and 200,000 cases a day”. The Biden administration calls the ongoing pandemic “the pandemic of the unvaccinated,” as the vast majority of people who end up in hospital have not been vaccinated.
But recent data indicates that vaccinated people who contract the Delta variant have high viral loads and can pass it on to others, even if they show no symptoms or develop mild disease. “We are now dealing, indeed, with a different virus,” he added. Fauci hopes that full approval of Pfizer and Moderna’s two-dose vaccines by the Food and Drug Administration, expected within a few weeks, will lead to a “jump” in the rate of vaccinations. Vaccines take time to be effective: the two doses are spaced and a person is not considered fully vaccinated until two weeks after the second dose. Therefore, the impact would not be immediate, such as to mitigate the increase in ongoing cases.
“Even if we all vaccinated today, we wouldn’t see the effect until mid-September,” he explained. Fauci said the data indicates that people infected with the Delta variant have viral loads “about 1,000 times higher in quantity” than those recorded in people infected with the Alpha variant, the British variant, which had become dominant earlier this year. In the USA. In recent weeks, studies have come in indicating that vaccinated people are at risk of ‘Long Covid’, a series of conditions associated with the disease such as fatigue, shortness of breath and loss of smell, which can last for weeks or months, even if they are protected from the disease. serious illness and death, adds Fauci. Despite the extraordinary contagiousness of the Delta variant, things can get even worse, Fauci continues.
The immunologist fears that the virus will be given “ample” opportunity to mutate into an even more lethal variant that could decrease the effectiveness of vaccines. The continued spread provides more opportunities for the virus to mutate, he explains. “If we don’t crush the pandemic to the point of having the vast majority of the population vaccinated, then it will happen that the virus will continue to spread throughout the fall and then into the winter, giving it ample chances to hit a dangerous variant.” “Frankly – he adds – we are very lucky, because the vaccines work very well against the variants, particularly against the serious disease. We are very lucky that this is the case: there may be a variant lurking out there that can put the Delta in a corner. If another one arrives, with an equally high transmission capacity but that causes a more serious disease, then we could really be in trouble. People who do not get vaccinated think, wrongly, that it concerns only them – he concludes – but it is not so . It also affects everyone else. “