Dr. Fauci Just Said This State Is in a "Potentially Dangerous" Situation
"There really is a danger of triggering another surge," Fauci said.
There's a lot to currently be hopeful about in the war against the COVID-19 pandemic. Daily case numbers are falling nationwide, the number of deaths have dropped sharply from their winter peak, and the vaccine rollout is ramping up from coast to coast. However, this broad improvement has also shone a light on areas of the country where things are at serious risk of backsliding. On Sunday, White House COVID adviser Anthony Fauci, MD, made an appearance on Fox News Sunday where he gave the warning that when it came to COVID, Texas is in a "potentially dangerous" situation that could lead to another surge. For the full details of the warning Fauci had for Texas, read on, and for more COVID news you need to know, check out The CDC Says Don't Do This Until 4 Weeks After Getting Vaccinated.
Fauci is concerned about restrictions being eased in Texas.
During the Mar. 14 appearance on Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace specifically asked Fauci about the recent decision in Texas to remove its mask mandate and ease other restrictions 100 percent. "I think it's risky and potentially dangerous," Fauci said. "If you look at the numbers, we are not out of the woods yet. When you pull back on all mitigation methods, on all public health guidelines, that's when you get into trouble."
Fauci made clear "history has proven" this to be the case and the situation he fears is "not some kind of theoretical." "When you plateau at a high level, there's enough viral activity in the community that when you pull back on things like masking, and not paying attention to avoiding congregate settings, it is very risky to get another surge," Fauci explained, citing the late winter/early spring 2020 and summer 2020 surges. "If you wait just a bit longer to give the vaccine program a chance to increase the protection in the community, then it makes pulling back much less risky. But if you do it prematurely, there really is a danger of triggering another surge." And for more advice from Fauci on what not to do, check out Dr. Fauci Just Said to Avoid This One Place, Even If You're Vaccinated.
Prematurely easing restrictions creates a risk that COVID will "surge back up," Fauci said.
Wallace asked Fauci if the plateauing of current case numbers meant there was a risk of the country experiencing a fourth wave of infections. "That's the critical question… when you see a plateauing at a level of anywhere between 50,000 and 65,000 cases per day, that is absolutely no time to declare victory. Because we know from previous surges that we've had over the year, that when you see that leveling off at a high level, there's always the risk of a surge back up," said Fauci.
"Unfortunately, that's exactly what's happened in Europe right now. … Now they're seeing an increase up," he added. "We have to avoid that, Chris. … Every day we get more and more people vaccinated, which gets us closer to a better protection. To pull back now prematurely would be ill-advised." And for more on what could lead to another wave, check out This Could Cause a Fourth Wave of COVID, CDC Director Warns.
Fauci says the recent jump in daily vaccinations could help us safely ease restrictions sooner than we thought.
On Saturday, Mar. 13, nearly three million vaccines were administered in the U.S., a new benchmark that Fauci says he thinks the country can maintain and further improve upon.
"I think not only can we keep that pace up but we might even do better. And that's because the implementation of the program of getting vaccines into people's arms is really accelerating greatly," said Fauci. "With the community vaccine centers, pharmacies getting vaccines in, mobile units going out, and getting a lot more people who can actually vaccinate people… So you're seeing two things simultaneously—a lot more doses available and greater efficiency in getting it into people's arms." And for more COVID news sent right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
So your July 4th weekend this year may look more normal, he predicts.
Wallace played a clip from President Joe Biden's recent State of the Union address, in which he outlined a roadmap by which all Americans over the age of 18 would be eligible for a vaccine by May 1 and would have access to it by May 30, resulting in small gatherings resuming by July 4. Fauci told Wallace he was "pretty confident" that the U.S. would hit these targets. "I think the July 4th prediction is really quite reasonable. I don't see any stumbling blocks in that," Fauci said.
So, hopefully, just a few more months of continuing caution could mean a quicker return to normality overall and an avoidance of further waves of infection. And for more on what to expect from your doses, check out This Is What It Means If You Have No Vaccine Side Effects, Doctors Say.