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Midday Exclusive: Dr. Anthony Fauci On How We'll Win The COVID War

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Dr. Anthony Fauci is director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and senior medical adviser to President Biden (NIH Photo).

For 10 days in a row, the state of Maryland has been reporting more than 100 new cases per day of COVID-19. As we heard WYPR's Nathan Sterner report this morning, the state health department announced that Maryland has confirmed 244 new cases of the coronavirus since yesterday.

The last time the state recorded more than 200 new cases in a single day was on May 30th.

Maryland’s average testing positivity rate has ticked up to 1.65 percent, about where it was at the end of May. The state's positivity rate is still low compared to many other states, but it continues to creep upwards.

State health officials say the highly contagious delta variant of the virus accounts for most of the new cases. Nationwide, it accounts for 85% of all new cases.

In June here in Maryland, all of the deaths from COVID 19, 95% of the new cases and 93% of hospitalizations due to the virus were for patients who had not been vaccinated.

Today on Midday, we begin with an interview Tom Hall conducted last week (July 12) with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases and President Joe Biden’s senior medical advisor. The video of the interview has been posted on our website, but this is the first opportunity we’ve had to include it on a Midday broadcast.

When Tom and Dr. Fauci spoke a week ago Monday, Dr. Fauci thought that he and other government medical officials would be meeting with executives from Pfizer the following day to discuss the need for those who have received two vaccine doses to get a third, booster shot. That meeting actually took place, on-line, a few hours after Dr. Fauci's Midday interview. Tom also mentioned Dr. Fauci’s past disagreements with Sen. Rand Paul of KY. Just yesterday, Dr. Fauci and Sen. Paul had a particularly heated exchange during a Senate hearing, which Tom will discuss later in this program with Dr. Gigi Gronvall of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

In his 15-minute interview, Dr. Fauci describes the dangers posed by the Delta variant and other mutations of the COVID-19 virus that are spreading rapidly in the United States among large unvaccinated populations.

While he urges all Americans to get their COVID shots, Dr. Fauci concedes the difficulties of a federal vaccine mandate, and calls instead for local institutions, local businesses, schools and travel enterprises to develop ways to encourage, or mandate, that their patrons be vaccinated.

Dr. Fauci also says federal health authorities are studying whether booster shots for those already vaccinated might become necessary, based on new scientific data.