Virus Expert Just Said We May Need to Bring Back Restrictions

Coronavirus cases are headed toward a weekly average of 100,00 a day—that's lower than the 170,000 cases last year this time, but way, way higher than the under-10,000 cases daily that experts say would signal the control phase of this pandemic. How can you stay safe? Former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb, author of Uncontrolled Spread, appeared on Face the Nation yesterday with host Margaret Brennan to give a state of the pandemic. Read on for five life-saving pieces of advice from him and Dr. Fauci—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.

1

Virus Expert Said We're Not in as Good a Place as We Should Be

Nurse is comforting a covid patient at the ICU

"Sixty-two million Americans who are eligible to be vaccinated still aren't and according to the CDC, 85% of the counties in this country are in substantial or high transmission. So you've already predicted a post-Thanksgiving spike. Is it too early in places like Washington DC to lift mask requirements?" asked Brennan. "Well, I think local officials need to base the rules on what the local prevalences and right now, in some parts of the country, prevalence is very low," said Dr. Gottlieb. "When you look at the South and the Southeast, even parts of the Tri-state region and mid-Atlantic region, I think we need to be mindful that when we lift these restrictions, we may have to reimplement them if things get worse. And right now we're better in this country than we were a year ago. There were 170,000 cases on a seven day average a year from now a year ago from today, we had about 77,000 people hospitalized. So we're in a better circumstance, but we're probably not as good as we should be given all the tools we have between the vaccines and the highly effective drugs, and also how much infection we've had in this country and how much immunity is already in place."

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2

Virus Expert Said This About Boosters

Doctor holding syringe, medical injection in hand with glove.

Should "fully vaccinated" now mean you got a booster? "I think at some point that going to, but not this year," said Gottlieb, "I think eventually this will be considered a three dose vaccine, but I would be hard pressed to believe CDC is going to make that recommendation anytime soon, in part, because of this debate about whether or not younger people who are at less risk should be receiving that third dose in states where governors are looking to do this. And I think some local communities do it. Some businesses are probably going to do it quite soon. I think in cases where entities are going to mandate three doses for people who are six months out from the second dose, they're doing that because they're using the vaccine as a way to control transmission and try to end this pandemic. And there are people in the public health community who don't think that that's an inappropriate way to use the vaccine, but this is a debate that's going on right now in the public health community and CDC sort of stuttering approach to how they've embraced boosters is reflective of that debate."

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3

Virus Expert Said This About Vaccine Mandates for Businesses

Woman is presenting COVID vaccination card.

"If you're a business owner, uh, if you were an employee, I mean, what, what should you be doing right now?" asked Brennan. "Well, I think it's not inappropriate for businesses to mandate vaccines and certain businesses absolutely should be mandating vaccination in their workplaces, healthcare settings settings, where you can protect employees with other tools other than to make sure that you can keep the infection out of that setting," said Goittlieb. "So settings, we have a lot of employees working very closely together as hard to work in a master environment and perpetuity. I mean, this is the unfortunate consequence of government officials getting into these private decisions. If we ultimately let these decisions to mandate vaccines up to states, local districts, private businesses, I don't think you'd see this be a political fight at a national level. Now it's become a political fight at a national level. Unfortunately, I'm going to see some governors trying to position themselves on this issue like you've seen in Florida, and you're going to see the federal government, the Biden administration now fighting those states and fighting to implement these OSHA rules. The end result is that I think businesses that we're going to move forward on mandates have moved forward and businesses that are reluctant to do it are probably going to wait in place and see what happens with the outcome of this litigation involving OSHA. By the time this lawsuit ends up getting resolved probably will be through the surge that we're seeing right now."

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4

Dr. Fauci Also Warned Cases are Too High

One nurse looking at the medical ventilator screen.

Gottlieb wasn't the only expert on the Sunday morning news shows. Are we seeing the start of a "winter wave," State of the Union host Dana Bash asked Dr. Anthony Fauci, with cases already surging in Europe and rising in America. "Certainly you can't walk away from the data and the data show that the cases are starting to go up, which is not unexpected, when you get into a winter season and people start to go indoors more," Fauci warned. "And we know that immunity does wane over time. And that's when you look and say, what can we do about that? And we still have about 60 million people in this country who are eligible to be vaccinated who have not been vaccinated. And that results in the dynamic of virus in the community that not only is dangerous and makes people who are unvaccinated vulnerable, but it also spills over into the max unaided people because no vaccine is a hundred percent effective. And when you have a lot of virus circulating around, we know that there are breakthrough infections, and that's how you get the uptick in cases. The bottom line common denominator of all of this data is we should get vaccinated if you're not vaccinated. And boostered, if you have been vaccinated."

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How to Stay Safe Out There

Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

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