Dr. Fauci Warns a Winter Surge Could Be Coming Unless This Happens

The adviser says this one thing could prevent another massive wave of COVID cases.

Over the last few months, the U.S. has been battling a substantial surge of COVID cases, hospitalizations, and deaths largely brought on by the Delta variant. Fortunately, numbers are now dropping, and experts say Delta may have already done its worst. Former U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) head Scott Gottlieb, MD, recently told CNBC that while there are likely still a few weeks left with the Delta surge moving to regions like the Midwest, the West, and potentially the Northeast, it's likely that the wave will have subsided by Thanksgiving, and that this will the last major wave to hit the U.S. Other experts caution that we're not out of the danger zone yet.

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During an Oct. 17 interview on Fox News Sunday, White House COVID adviser Anthony Fauci, MD, was asked whether indoor gatherings during the colder months and travel during the holidays could lead to another surge, much like we saw with the Delta variant over the summer. According to the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), it all depends on us.

"It's going to be within our capability to prevent that from happening," he said. "The numbers are going down … So, we're going in the right direction. The problem is, as we all know, we still have approximately 66 million people who are eligible to be vaccinated who are not vaccinated."

According to Fauci, the only way to prevent a winter surge is to get vaccinations up. The CDC reports that while COVID cases have dropped more than 12 percent over the last week, only 57 percent of the U.S. is fully vaccinated so far. Meanwhile, vaccinations have dropped about 11 percent over the last week.

"The degree to which we continue to come down in that slope will depend on how well we do about getting more people vaccinated," Fauci said. "If we don't do very well in that regard, there's always the danger that there will be enough circulating virus that you can have a stalling of the diminishing of the number of cases. And when that happens, as we've seen in the past with other waves that we've been through, there's the danger of resurgence."

There is hope, however. "We can do something about that," Fauci continued. "That's the whole point that we keep emphasizing. The more people we get vaccinated, the less likelihood there is going to be another surge as we go into the winter."

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As for whether families can safely gather for the holiday, Fauci said that groups of vaccinated people can certainly "enjoy the holiday season," including trick-or-treating on Halloween and eating a Thanksgiving meal with family.

"For those who are not vaccinated, first, I would encourage them very strongly to get vaccinated. But if they're not, they should do what the CDC recommends, [which] is when you're in an indoor setting, in a public indoor setting, to wear a mask," Fauci said. "It's very important. We know that masks work, and they could greatly diminished the likelihood that you're going to get infected."

Still, Fauci stressed that vaccinations are the ultimate protection measure, as they are not only "good for your own health and that of your family," but will also "make it much easier for you to enjoy the kinds of things in society that you'd like to enjoy anyway."

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