Anthony Fauci Says U.S. Headed In 'Wrong Direction' On COVID-19, Floats Booster Shots & Mask Mandates

Dr. Anthony Fauci attends a hearing.
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News & Politics

The Delta variant of COVID-19, which originally surfaced in India, is spreading rapidly in countries across the world, including the United States.

Governments in Europe and elsewhere have imposed various restrictions, with some recommending that even those who are fully vaccinated against the novel coronavirus wear masks and avoid large gatherings.

According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the federal government and states across the nation should consider doing the same.

Here's what Fauci said.

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Fauci said that America is in an "unnecessary predicament" of rising coronavirus cases because millions of Americans have not been vaccinated, as reported by The Associated Press.

"We’re going in the wrong direction," Fauci stressed, adding that he is "very frustrated" with how the U.S. is handling the pandemic at this time.

Recommending that the vaccinated wear face masks is "under active consideration" by top public health officials, according to Fauci, who noted that booster shots may be suggested for some high-risk groups, including immunocompromised people.

Masks

Fauci pointed out that some local governments are already recommending that everyone, including fully vaccinated people, wears masks indoors.

For instance, in Los Angeles County -- where the Delta variant is dominant and infection rates are surging -- everyone is recommended to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still insists that the vaccinated do not need to wear masks in public, but, according to Fauci, this does not mean local governments shouldn't impose their own rules.

Booster Shots

CDC data shows that 49 percent of Americans -- 163 million people -- are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, which, according to Fauci, suggests that the remaining 51 percent are spreading the virus.

"This is an issue predominantly among the unvaccinated, which is the reason why we’re out there, practically pleading with the unvaccinated people to go out and get vaccinated," he said.

Fauci added that experts are reviewing data and will probably recommend booster shots for cancer patients and other vulnerable groups soon.

Fauci Praises Republicans

Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks at a press conference.
Gettyimages | Tasos Katopodis

Fauci praised GOP governors Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas and Ron DeSantis of Florida, as well as Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, for encouraging their constituents to get vaccinated.

"What I would really like to see is more and more of the leaders in those areas that are not vaccinating to get out and speak out and encourage people to get vaccinated," he said.

According to polling by the Kaiser Family Foundation, vaccine hesitancy is higher among Republicans and Republican-leaners than among liberal and left-leaning individuals.