Fauci, the country's leading infectious disease expert, said that he doesn’t see additional lockdowns in the U.S., as he believes enough people have been vaccinated to prevent a repeat of last winter. He said that not enough people are vaccinated to "crush" the outbreak at this time.
Fauci's warning comes days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed course to recommend that even vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where the delta variant is fueling infection surges. Federal health officials cited studies that showed the virus can be spread to others by vaccinated individuals.
The majority of new infections in the U.S. are still occurring among people who have not been vaccinated. So-called breakthrough infections can occur in vaccinated people, and though the vast majority of those cause mild or no symptoms, the research shows they can carry about the same amount of the coronavirus as those who did not get the shots.
"So we're not looking to lockdown but to some pain, suffering, because we're seeing cases go up. This is why we keep repeating over and over, the solution is to get vaccinated. This would not be happening," Fauci stated on ABC's "This Week."
Johns Hopkins University data from July 30 shows that the seven-day average of daily new cases in the U.S. increased from 30,887 on Jul 16 to 77.827 on Jul 30. The country's daily deaths increased by 7 days from 253 on Jul 16 to 358 July 30, although death reports can take weeks after infection and longer after hospitalizations.
Currently, 58% of Americans 12 years and older are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC's data tracker.
According to Dr. Francis Collins, the director of National Institutes of Health, people "are getting the message" and are more willing to take on the risk of the delta variant. On CNN's "State of the Union", Dr. Francis Collins stated that vaccinations have increased by 56% in the United States in the past two weeks.
Collins stated that Louisiana has seen threefold growth in vaccinations over the last 14 days. It has the highest number of new cases per capita.
Collins stated that "That's exactly what we need to do if this delta variant is going to be put back in it's place. Right now, it's having quite a big party in central America."
Collins stated that the vaccines are effective despite the high prevalence of the delta variant. He also claimed that the recommendations for people who have been vaccinated to wear masks indoors in areas with worsening epidemics is mostly intended to protect those with compromised immune systems.
The CDC recommends indoor mask-wearing by all staff, students, teachers, and visitors to schools across the country, regardless of their vaccination status.