Dr. Anthony Fauci spoke to doctors, nurses and other medical staff at the University of Virginia – warning that many more people are at increased risk for a serious case of COVID and calling for vaccination of almost everyone.
Speaking on Zoom to more than 1,000 people at UVA, Dr. Fauci said the pandemic has hit this country harder than any other and that we’re heading into colder weather with a worrisome number of cases.
“I testified before the Congress a couple of months ago when we were at 40,000 and said that if we did not do something different it is conceivable we would get to 100,000 cases a day," he recalled. "Now we’ve been as a high as 180,000 cases a day with hospitalizations over 70,000.”
He said a surprising number of Americans are at increased risk of death because of underlying medical problems.
“It is significant – about 40%. About 30% of individuals are obese by the definition of a BMI equal to or greater than 30. That’s important.”
And he worried that when vaccines are available, too few people would agree to get a shot.
“That is going to be a challenge, because as shown here by this survey, 50% of Americans plan to get the vaccine, but what about the rest?
Based on our experience with measles – another highly contagious disease – he says most Americans should be vaccinated.
“Once you get down below 90% you get a degree of loss of herd immunity that could lead to outbreaks, so we would like to see almost everybody get vaccinated, even though I think that we can certainly end it as a pandemic if we get to 75-80%.”
Fauci also stressed that the FDA had not rushed the process of vaccine approval.