Fauci predicts COVID cases will rise but says lockdowns are unlikely

By Jesús Jiménez

The nation’s top infectious disease expert Sunday predicted that the number of cases and hospitalizations in the United States “will get worse” but that measures seen in the early days of the pandemic, such as closing businesses, were unlikely to return.

In an interview on “This Week,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the number of Americans who were already vaccinated was likely sufficient to prevent caseloads and hospitalizations on the scale seen by much of the country in the winter.

“I don’t think we’re going to see lockdowns,” he said. “I think we have enough of the percentage of people in the country — not enough to crush the outbreak — but I believe enough to not allow us to get into the situation we were in last winter. But things are going to get worse.”

Over the past two weeks, new coronavirus infections have risen by 148% in the United States, and hospitalizations have increased by 73%, according to New York Times data. The surge of infections has been largely attributed to the highly contagious delta variant and to low vaccination rates in some states.

“We are seeing an outbreak of the unvaccinated,” Fauci said, noting that there are 100 million people in the United States who are eligible to get vaccinated but have not done so.

As of Sunday, 57% of eligible Americans had received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine and 49% are fully vaccinated, according to Times data.

“We’re looking not, I believe, to lockdown, but we’re looking to some pain and suffering in the future because we’re seeing the cases go up,” Fauci said. “The solution to this is: Get vaccinated, and this would not be happening.”

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