- The coronavirus infection rate has plummeted 44% over the last two weeks.
- More contagious COVID strains from the UK and South Africa have some experts worried that future outbreaks are on the way.
- To prevent another coronavirus surge, Dr. Fauci cautions that people still need to take mask-wearing and social distancing seriously.
With the coronavirus infection rate dropping significantly in recent weeks, there’s something of an ongoing race to vaccinate as many Americans as possible before more contagious variants from the UK and South Africa spread far and wide. As it stands now, some health experts believe the UK coronavirus strain — which is 50% more contagious than the original — could become the dominant strain in the US as soon as March.
In light of the above, Dr. Fauci recently laid out two strategies that can prevent additional outbreaks from springing up over the next few weeks and months. Fauci’s advice isn’t exactly new or surprising, but with the COVID infection rate down 44% over the last two weeks alone, it’s important to remain vigilant and keep things moving in the right direction. So while it’s nice that we can finally be optimistic about the pandemic coming to an end, that optimism can be dangerous if it causes people to disregard safety guidelines.
With that said, Fauci cautions that Americans — even in areas where COVID-19 transmission is low — should still wear masks at all times and follow social distancing guidelines. Especially with more contagious strains spreading across dozens of states, adhering to tried and true COVID-19 safety measures is incredibly important. Additionally, Fauci believes people should still avoid indoor gatherings whenever possible.
“You do that, you’re good against the wild-type virus, and you’re good against the mutant virus,” Fauci said recently.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of Fauci’s advice above. With respect to mask-wearing, former CDC Director Robert Redifled a few months ago said that masks — when properly worn by a population at large — can be more effective at preventing COVID outbreaks than a vaccine.
“We have clear scientific evidence they work,” Redfield said during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing. “This face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID19 than when I take a COVID vaccine.”
“These face masks are the most powerful public health tool we have,” Redfield went on to say. “I appeal to all Americans to embrace these face coverings.”
Indoor gatherings, meanwhile, have been found to be disproportionately responsible for coronavirus infections. In fact, a study monitoring coronavirus infections in New York found that people are 10 times more likely to contract COVID-19 at a household gathering than anywhere else.
Beyond the guidance above, Fauci stressed the importance of vaccinating as many people as possible as quickly as possible. Aside from existing COVID-19 vaccines being 95% effective at preventing infection, Fauci recently said that the vaccines can also help stop the spread of the virus to others.
“There have been some studies that are pointing in a very favorable direction,” Fauci said of asymptomatic transmission amongst the vaccinated population.
One ongoing struggle in the effort to vaccinate the overall population is that the supply of COVID-19 vaccine doses is still low, with the U.S. has used up about 80.5% of its existing vaccine supply. Consequently, Fauci recently said that some Americans may not be able to get vaccinated until later this summer.