The head of the National Institutes of Health warned Sunday that unvaccinated Americans are “sitting ducks” for the significantly more transmissible delta variant of COVID-19 as he predicted daily cases could soar to 200,000.
“We’re in a world of hurt,” NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins told Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.”
He said he would be “surprised if we don’t cross 200,000 cases a day in the next couple of weeks. That’s heartbreaking, considering we never thought we would never be back in that space again,” Collins added.
New infections in the nation are already surpassing 123,000 each day, based on a seven-day average, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
“Here we are with delta variant, which is so contagious, and [in] this heartbreaking situation where 90 million people are still unvaccinated who are sitting ducks for this virus,” Collins emphasized.
“We’re in a world of hurt and it’s a critical juncture to try to do everything we can to turn that around,” Collins said.
Collins slammed Republican politicians like Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for banning mask mandates in businesses — and schools, where COVID cases are already spiking among students just days into the new school year.
“It’s really unfortunate that politics and polarization have gotten in the way of a simple public health measure,” Collins said, referring to the astounding partisan manipulation of masks — a “life-saving medical device” — somehow into an “invasion of personal liberty.”
In a separate interview Saturday, a Florida school board member called DeSantis the “mad king of the COVID era” for his anti-health and life policies. It “feels like a nightmare I can’t wake up from,“ Jessica Vaughn told the Business Insider.
Collins also dismissed complaints that immigrants are bringing the coronavirus into the U.S., noting that Mexico’s COVID-19 rate is lower than that of Texas, Florida and Louisiana.
Check out Collins’ full interview in the video clip up top.
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