Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday it was “horrifying” to see conservatives cheer for low vaccination rates, blaming “ideological rigidity” for hobbling the fight against COVID-19.
Fauci, President Joe Biden’s top pandemic adviser, spoke Sunday on CNN, and referenced a widely shared video of “COVID contrarian” Alex Berenson speaking Saturday at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Texas, where he drew cheers when mentioning how the U.S. government has failed to meet its nationwide vaccination goals.
“It’s horrifying. I mean, they are cheering about someone saying it’s a good thing for people not to try and save their lives.”
“I just don’t get it,” Fauci said. “I don’t understand that.”
“I think there’s no reason not to get vaccinated. Why are we having red states and places in the South that are very highly ideological in one way, not wanting to get vaccinations? Vaccinations have nothing to do with politics.”
The partisan divide is especially concerning seeing as the delta variant of the virus is spreading quickly, with 42 states seeing increases in coronavirus cases last week.
A little fewer that half of all Americans, about 48%, are fully vaccinated, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky noted last week that 99% of COVID-19 related deaths in June were among people who were unvaccinated.
“If you’re not vaccinated, you should be concerned,” Fauci said in a separate interview Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” “We know from extensive experience, not only in our own country, here in the United States, but in other countries, that the vaccines that we are using work extremely well against the Delta variant, particularly in preventing advanced disease that would lead to hospitalization and likely death in some circumstances.”
Fauci also said Sunday that it’s too soon for the government to recommend a booster shot to protect those already vaccinated against COVID-19, but added that that may change in the coming months as more research is conducted.
Nearly 34 million Americans have contracted COVID-19 over the past year-plus, with more than 607,000 deaths, according to data Sunday from Johns Hopkins University.