Fauci urges vaccination, but says latest data shows booster not needed
The coronavirus positivity rate continues to inch up on Long Island and across New York, as health officials urge the unvaccinated to get immunized while saying the latest data indicates a booster is not needed.
The statewide positivity rate, averaged over seven days, was 0.84% Saturday, 0.79% on Friday and 0.73% Thursday, according to data from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's office. As a point of comparison, the figure sat at 0.35% on June 23.
State health officials have said those getting tested are more likely to be unvaccinated and positive.
On Long Island, the rate averaged over seven days was 0.92% Saturday, up from 0.85% Friday and 0.79% Thursday, according to the state data.
"Our metrics continue to show steady progress toward slaying this COVID beast," Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in a statement issued Sunday. "The vaccine remains our most effective weapon in this ongoing fight, which is why we continue to target areas that have a lower vaccination rate and focus our resources there. If you still need to get your shot, I urge you to do so quickly at a vaccination site near you."
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country's top infectious disease specialist, said 99.5% of those who died from COVID-19 were not vaccinated.
Fauci, who is also chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, said Sunday that unvaccinated Americans should be particularly concerned about the growing number of delta variant cases, which current vaccines can protect against.
"It's very clear that this is a nasty variant," Fauci said on ABC's "This Week."
"It has a much greater capability of transmitting from person to person," he added. "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, in urging people to get vaccinated, noted the 99.5% figure on CBS' Face the Nation, saying: "The data that's hitting you right between the eyes … So you're talking about something that's life saving."
Also Sunday, Fauci said on CNN's "State of the Union" that booster shots don't appear to be needed for those already inoculated, saying: "Right now, given the data and the information we have, we do not need to give people a third shot, a boost, superimposed upon the two doses you get with the mRNA [Pfizer and Moderna vaccines] and the one dose you get with J&J [the Johnson & Johnson vaccine]."
Last week, Pfizer said it would seek FDA approval to administer a third booster dose. The company pointed to an ongoing booster trial that has shown that a third dose, administered six months after the initial pair of doses, can increase protection against COVID-19 and variant strains.
In response, the CDC and Food and Drug Administration issued a statement Thursday, writing: "Americans who have been fully vaccinated do not need a booster shot at this time."
Still, Fauci said last week's guidance was not meant to be the final word on the issue.
"There are studies being done now, ongoing as we speak, about looking at the feasibility about if and when we should be boosting people," Fauci said on CNN. "So, this isn't something that we say, ‘No, we don't need a boost right now, the story has ended forever.’ "
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