Dr Anthony Fauci said on Sunday he had “no doubt” that the number of Americans killed by COVID-19 is much higher than what has been officially reported, after a recent study counted nearly double the amount recorded by federal health officials.
“We said – and the CDC has always said it – that it’s very likely that we are under-counting,” Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, said in an interview with “Meet the Press” from NBC.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated the death toll in the United States at around 577,800 people. By comparison, a University of Washington study released Thursday identified around 905,000 deaths.
“It’s a little more than I would have thought the undercoverage was,” Fauci said of that difference. “I think there’s no question… that we are and that we underestimate. What this tells us is something we know. You know, we are living in a historic pandemic, like we haven’t seen in over a hundred years. “
He went on to stress the need for people to get vaccinated, which he says will help prevent another flare-up of infections this fall and winter.
“The higher the proportion of the population vaccinated, the less likely it is that a season like the coming fall or winter you will see a significant increase,” he said.
About a third of Americans have been fully vaccinated and nearly half have been at least partially vaccinated, according to CDC data released on Saturday. President Joe Biden has set a goal of having 70% of Americans vaccinated by July 4, which Fauci says will be achieved.
In addition to stressing the need to vaccinate more people, Fauci stressed the importance of wearing masks and attributed their use to a decline in other respiratory illnesses, such as the flu. With more and more people feeling comfortable wearing them, he said the masks could become a seasonal item to help prevent the spread of the disease.
“We had a virtually non-existent flu season this year just because people were doing the kinds of public health things that were primarily directed at COVID-19,” he said. “So it’s conceivable that as we go along, a year or two or more from now, that during certain seasonal times when you have respiratory viruses like the flu, people choose to wear masks. to decrease the likelihood that you ‘I will spread these respiratory diseases.
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