Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden, provided a stern warning as the U.S. deals with a surge in the delta variant of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
While discussing the ongoing battle with ABC's This Week on Sunday (August 1), Dr. Fauci said he didn't think the country would be forced to go back into lockdowns similar to the beginning of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but warned "things will get worse" than they currently are.
"I don't think we're gonna see lockdowns. I think we have enough of the percentage of people in the country -- not enough to crush the outbreak -- but I believe enough to not allow us to get into the situation we were in last winter. But things are going to get worse," Dr. Fauci told This Week co-host Jonathan Karl. "If you look at the acceleration of the number of cases, the seven-day average has gone up substantially. You know what we really need to do, Jon, we say it over and over again and it's the truth -- we have 100 million people in this country who are eligible to be vaccinated who are not getting vaccinated. We are seeing an outbreak of the unvaccinated."
"From the standpoint of illness, hospitalization, suffering and death, the unvaccinated are much more vulnerable because the vaccinated are protected from severe illness, for the most part, but when you look at the country as a whole. And getting us back to normal, the unvaccinated, by not being vaccinated, are allowing the propagation and the spread of the outbreak which ultimately impacts everybody," Fauci said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 34,030,494 total COVID-19 cases, which includes a seven-day average growth of 53%.
The seven-day average in total deaths reported has increased 8% at a total of 607,289, while the number of fully vaccinated individuals (161,895,045) has decreased 20%.
Hospitalizations are also up 31% during the past seven days with a total of 26,429.
On Saturday (July 31), the CDC reported 49.5% of Americans are currently fully vaccinated, which includes 57.9% of people 12 and older, representing the age group eligible for shots nationwide.
The data also reported the lowest rates of individuals who are fully vaccinated by state includes: Alabama (34%), Mississippi (35%), Arkansas (36%), Louisiana (37%), Idaho (37%) and Wyoming (37%).
The data comes amid the spread of the Delta variant, which is reported to be "highly contagious, likely to be more serve" than previous known strains of the coronavirus and that “breakthrough infections may be as transmissible as unvaccinated cases,” according to the CDC.