Covid-19 vaccines are protecting more than half the US population from current strains, experts say. But if too few people get vaccinated, the virus will be allowed to continue to spread – and the result could be an even more dangerous variant, Dr. Anthony Fauci said.
“Then all of us who are protected against delta may not be protected against zaida (zeta),” the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said in a Q&A with USA Today published Sunday.
If an overwhelming majority of the population is vaccinated, the virus will disappear in the country, Fauci said. But having only a partially vaccinated population means that smoldering levels of infection will carry into the fall, be confused as the flu in the winter and pick back up in the spring, Fauci told USA Today.
And if the rest of the world isn’t vaccinated over the next couple of years, more circulation could mean more variants, Fauci warned.
Already, states are struggling to fend off the Delta variant, a strain believed to be significantly more transmissible than others. In 47 states, the seven-day average of new cases is surging by at least 10% more than the previous week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. And the US is averaging more than 100,000 new Covid-19 cases every day – the highest in almost six months, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.