Amid reports that the United States is unlikely to impose lockdowns despite surging infections, hospital and health officials across Texas have reiterated their calls for the state residents to get vaccinated, adding that healthcare facilities are on the verge of saturation.
According to Dr. Bryan Alsip, who is also the chief medical officer at University Health System in San Antonio, the dramatic increase in COVID-19 patients is already decimating the healthcare system, and that is the only way to contain the spike is by getting everybody inoculated.
“Nearly every COVID patient admission is completely preventable. Staff witness this every day and it’s very, very frustrating.”
Alsip’s remark was issued as an offshoot of a warning made by renowned American physician-scientist and immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci who hinted at a much worse scenario. “Things are going to get worse,” he said Sunday.
Fauci is the concurrent director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the chief medical advisor to the president.
Appearing from one television news program to another, Fauci said that half of Americans have been vaccinated and that should be enough reason not for the federal government to re-impose a hard lockdown.
“We are looking, not I believe, to lockdowns, but to some pain and suffering in the future,” Fauci was quoted as saying in ABC’s “This Week.”
More than 1.3 million new infections in July have been reported across the U.S., representing three times more than what was recorded in the previous month.
While he admitted that there are some breakthrough infections among the vaccinated, Fauci went on to say that no vaccine is 100% effective, even as he reiterated Biden administration’s recurring theme — that vaccinated people are not likely to have severe cases in the event they get infected.
“From the standpoint of illness, hospitalization, suffering and death, the unvaccinated are much more vulnerable. The unvaccinated, by not being vaccinated, are allowing the propagation and the spread of the outbreak,” Fauci said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has already recommended guidelines for the mandatory use of protective masks even for those who have been fully vaccinated — especially in areas with high transmission rates.
“That has much more to do with transmission,” Fauci said of the new guidelines. “You want them to wear a mask, so that if in fact they do get infected, they don’t spread it to vulnerable people, perhaps in their own household, children or people with underlying conditions.”
Relatedly, National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins echoed Fauci’s statement and cited the federal guidance urging vaccinated people to wear protective masks indoors in areas that have high incidents of coronavirus infections may already be enough to protect the unvaccinated and immunocompromised from catching the virus.
He added that wearing a protective mask is good but there’s no substitute for getting vaccinated.
The virus is “having a pretty big party in the middle of the country,” Collins quipped.
In Texas, Governor Gregg Abbott restricted local governments and state agencies from compelling vaccination and the use of protective masks.