As if there aren't enough factors dividing the United States these days — politics, culture, race, religion, sexual identity, to name but a few — Dr. Anthony Fauci is warning of another "two Americas" emerging: areas where most people are vaccinated and places where most aren't.
What are the details?
Fauci — director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases — made the statement during an interview with CNN's Don Lemon earlier this week, and it was the host who lamented that the U.S. will fall short of President Joe Biden's goal of 70% of Americans receiving at least one vaccine dose by July 4.
Lemon also pointed his finger at states like Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Wyoming, where "less than 35% of the population" is "fully vaccinated."
With that Fauci chimed in, saying that he's "concerned" about COVID-19 infection spikes in areas with low vaccination rates.
"When you have such a low level of vaccination superimposed upon a variant that has a high degree of efficiency of spread, what you are going to see among undervaccinated regions — be they states, cities, or counties — you're going to see these individual types of blips," Fauci said. "It's almost like it's going to be two Americas."
Fauci: Expect 'two Americas' because of disparity between vacinnated/unvaccinated... youtu.be
He added: "You're going to have areas where vaccine rate is high, where ... more than 70% of the population has received at least one dose. When you compare that with areas where you may have 35% of the people vaccinated, you clearly have a high risk of seeing these spikes in those selected areas."
Fauci also said it's "frustrating" for him because "this is entirely avoidable, entirely preventable. If you are vaccinated, you diminish dramatically your risk of getting infected and even more dramatically your risk of getting seriously ill. If you are not vaccinated, you are at considerable risk."
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said Wednesday there's enough COVID-19 protection across the U.S. population that another big outbreak is unlikely, even when the Delta variant is factored in.
"I don't think it's going to be a raging epidemic across the country like we saw last winter," Gottlieb said, adding that he believes there will be "pockets of spread, and prevalence overall is going to pick up."
However, the World Health Organization said last week that even fully vaccinated people should continue social distancing and wearing masks due to the Delta variant's worldwide spread.