Coronavirus

‘Children will more likely get infected with this’: Fauci issues warning on more transmissible Delta variant

“The best way to protect the children is to bring the level of virus circulation in the community down.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci is warning that unvaccinated kids are more likely to contract the COVID-19 Delta variant because it is so highly transmissible.

The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the NIH and top adviser to President Joe Biden told “CBS This Morning” on Wednesday that kids are not necessarily more susceptible to the contagious strain. But the concern is anyone who is unvaccinated, including kids, is more likely to be infected by the new strain since it is so much more contagious.

Health officials in the United States announced Tuesday that the Delta variant now accounts for about one in every five COVID-19 cases in the country, doubling its presence in the last two weeks.

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“This virus is more a transmissible virus, therefore, children will more likely get infected with this than they would with the Alpha variant,” Fauci said.

The nation’s top infectious disease expert told “Today” on Wednesday that in the next several weeks, he expects the Delta variant to be dominant.

“That’s the sobering news,” he said. 

Fauci said the U.S. is doing well with vaccines, even though the nation is falling short of its goal of vaccinating 70 percent of the American population by July 4th. But he said he is concerned for those who remain unvaccinated, since the vaccines do “quite well” against the contagious variant.

“If they are unvaccinated, they are at risk,” the scientist said. “Whereas those who are vaccinated can have a great Fourth of July. You can just do all the things you want to do on the Fourth of July if, in fact, you’re vaccinated.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a large proportion of adults aged 18 to 39 years old are expressing hesitancy about getting vaccinated. 

The solution to addressing lingering hesitancy, Fauci said, is to have people “in the trenches getting to people,” continuing to have conversations with people who are hesitant and bringing trusted community members in to help. 

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Dr. Megan Ranney, an emergency room physician and director of the Brown Lifespan Center for Digital Health, agreed, urging on Twitter that “person-to-person conversations” will help drive a change in the vaccination rates for the population.

For kids under the age of 12 who remain ineligible for the vaccines, Fauci advised continuing to be careful and abiding by public health recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as wearing a mask outside the household.

“The best way to protect the children is to bring the level of virus circulation in the community down,” Fauci said. “The best way to do that is that those — i.e. adults — who are eligible for vaccination to get vaccinated so you’re not only protecting yourself, but by bringing the level of virus down in the community, you’re indirectly protecting the children who can’t yet get vaccinated. That’s one of the most important ways to do that.”

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