- President Joe Biden's Chief Medical Advisor says the US will not lock down again even as the Delta variant of COVID-19 spurs a surge in cases
- Dr Anthony Fauci has told the American Broadcasting Company that enough Americans have been vaccinated to avoid another economic shutdown
- Despite saying a lockdown may be off the cards, he warns "things are going to get worse" as the Delta variant spreads
- The Delta variant of the coronavirus, which was first detected in India, now accounts for over 80 per cent of all COVID-19 cases in the US
- A recent Reuters analysis has found the average number of COVID-19 cases reported across the US has doubled over the past 10 days
President Joe Biden's Chief Medical Advisor said this week the US would not lock down again even as the Delta variant of COVID-19 spurred a surge in cases.
Dr Anthony Fauci, who is also the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said though another lockdown was likely off the cards, "things are going to get worse" as the Delta variant spread.
Nevertheless, enough Americans have been vaccinated against COVID-19 to avoid another economic shutdown to curb the spread of the virus.
"Not enough to crush the outbreak, but I believe enough to now allow us to get into the situation we were in last winter," Dr Fauci told the American Broadcasting Company's This Week program.
His comments come as the average number of COVID-19 cases reported across the US has doubled over the past 10 days, according to a Reuters analysis.
The Delta variant of the coronavirus, which was first detected in India, now accounts for over 80 per cent of all COVID-19 cases in the US.
As such, though the nation's vaccination rate means a lockdown can be avoided, it does not mean the country is in the clear.
"We're looking — not, I believe, to lockdown — but we're looking to some pain and suffering in the future because we're seeing the cases go up," Dr Fauci said.
He added that those who have not been vaccinated are far more likely to contract the virus and, if they do, are also more vulnerable to severe infection that could result in hospitalisation or even death.
From an economic standpoint, Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President Neel Kashkari told CBS said the Delta variant surge was "creating a bunch of caution" for Americans wanting to get back into the job market.
"If people are nervous about the Delta variant, that could slow some of that labour market recovery and therefore be a drag on our economic recovery," Mr Kashkari said.
It's not just the US that's facing fresh challenges from the Delta variant.
According to the latest data from the World Health Organisation (WHO), COVID-19 infections have increased by 80 per cent in most regions in the world over the past four weeks.
The Delta variant has become the dominant strain across the globe, having now been detected in 132 different countries.