Dr. Fauci Says This Is the Sign Your Area Could See COVID "Peaking Again"
The top infectious disease expert warned that some policy changes may have been poorly timed.
The status of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. has changed drastically since vaccines began rolling out nearly six months ago. Now, the daily national case average continues to fall, dropping below 20,000 for the first time in over a year on June 2, according to The New York Times. Current conditions even have many officials dropping mask mandates and lifting restrictions from coast to coast after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) amended their guidelines for fully vaccinated people in May. But during an interview with NBC Nightly News on June 2, Anthony Fauci, MD, warned that removing public health measures could mean that COVID will wind up "peaking" again in some areas.
When asked whether it was premature for states to pull back on mask mandates, Fauci explained that the CDC's recent revision wasn't a green light for all areas to drop COVID precautions so suddenly. "It's premature if you have a level of infection in the community that is really quite high," he said. "If you pull back on masking, then you're going to wind up having a danger of peaking again."
Another expert pointed out that the travel and congregating brought on by Memorial Day weekend will act as a major indicator of whether or not officials made the sudden changes too hastily. "In some ways, this was the first big stress test," Leana Wen, MD, told CNN in an interview, predicting it would take two weeks to see the full effects of the holiday. "We have restrictions lifted en masse, people going about their normal lives. We know that in the past, after major holidays and an increase in travel, that we then had a substantial uptick in the rate of infections."
Wen also pointed out that not all areas are prepared for such a quick return to normal life, warning: "You have parts of the country with very low vaccination rates. I really worry about the unvaccinated people in those areas spreading coronavirus to one another."
A recent study appears to back up these warnings. According to research published in the medical journal JAMA Network Open on June 1, dropping pandemic precautions such as mask mandates and social distancing could lead to another surge in COVID-19 cases, even if most of the population is vaccinated.
"Our study suggests that, for a population of 10.5 million, approximately 1.8 million infections and 8,000 deaths could be prevented during 11 months with more efficacious COVID-19 vaccines, higher vaccination coverage, and maintaining NPIs (non-pharmaceutical interventions), such as distancing and use of face masks," the researchers wrote.