More infectious Covid-19 variants that are not necessarily more deadly can still cause more deaths, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday in an interview on NBC’s Meet the Press.
“Even though on a one-to-one basis, it's not more virulent, meaning it doesn't make you more sick or more likely to die, just by numbers alone, the more cases you have, the more hospitalizations you're going to have, and the more hospitalizations you have, the more deaths you're going to have,” he said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently warned that Covid-19 variants could accelerate the spread of the virus in the United States.
Fauci said the US is closely examining new variants, including one first identified in the UK and another, “more ominous” strain identified in South Africa and Brazil. Health experts are watching out for whether new strains could lessen the impact of Covid-19 vaccines, which would prompt some modifications to the vaccines.
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said it’s important for people to double down on public health measures and get vaccinated as soon as they can to prevent excess hospitalizations and deaths caused by new variants.