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Former Washington Journalist
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Dr Anthony Fauci, the federal immunologist who’s become a household name during the coronavirus pandemic, has sharpened his rhetoric against those who continue to denigrate available vaccines against the virus.
Fauci, who has become a lightning rod for criticism among those on the political right, pulled no punches in an on-air interview with MSNBC host Chris Hayes.
“That where there are high levels of vaccination, there’s low levels of infection, low hospitalization and almost no deaths. Where you have no vaccination, you have higher levels of infection, higher risk and hospitalization. It’s not complicated, Chris,” said Fauci, who began as a top pandemic adviser to then-president Donald Trump, and now continues in that role for President Biden. “And you said that very passionately, and I agree with you completely. This is not complicated. We’re not asking anybody to make any political statement one way or another.
“We’re saying, ‘Try and save your life and that of your family and that of the community.’ We have so many things, as you said, so many diseases that I deal with that don’t have solutions. It’s very frustrating. You don’t have a treatment or you don’t have a vaccine. Here we have a vaccine that’s highly, highly effective in preventing disease and certainly in preventing severe disease and hospitalization. It’s easy to get, it’s free, and it’s readily available,” Fauci added. “So you have to ask, ‘What is the problem?’ Get over it. Get over this political statement. Just get over it and try and save the lives of yourself and your family.”
With these disparities in attitudes about vaccination, the nation itself is becoming somewhat bifurcated — and opening the door to vulnerability to further and more-virulent coronavirus variants, Fauci said.
“Well, as I have said multiple times, Chris, it is a situation where you have almost two Americas. An at-risk, continuing to get infected, continuing to get hospitalized, unvaccinated America, and a vaccinated America that has very low level of infection, very low level of hospitalization and very low death,” he said. “So for the individuals within those areas that don’t want to get vaccinated, it’s going to be very risky from an individual health standpoint. From the country as a whole, it’s going to prevent us from just completely crushing this outbreak. So what we will have, because certain sections are not going to want to get vaccinated, is this smoldering threat that’s always there.
“And one of the threats that’s worrisome to everybody is that the more circulation of virus you have, without completely crushing it, the greater chance of the evolution of yet again another variant, which we may not be able to handle as well,” Fauci added. “Lucky for us, the variants that are circulating are handled quite well by the vaccines that are available. We are pretty lucky in that regard. If we keep allowing the virus to circulate, wherever it is, whatever red states or whatever states are not the ones that are getting vaccinated, then you have the threat of the entire system getting in trouble, because you have a new variant.”
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