Dr. Fauci on COVID-19 vaccine: we must respect the concerns of the Black community

By: Teddy Grant

Dr. Anthony Fauci said that he recognizes and understands the concerns that Black people have about taking the COVID-19 vaccine, but that it’s still important for them to do so because of how the virus has adversely impacted the community.

Fauci was on Start Your Day with Sharon + Mike on Friday and acknowledged that the federal government has not always had the best interest of the Black community in mind.

“The one thing I’ve learned is that you must respect the concerns and the hesitancy of the African-American community,” Fauci said. “It’s rooted in really egregious, unethical behavior.”

He said that he’s been doing work to convince people to get vaccinated and that there are systems in place where that type of unethical treatment could never happen again.

Fauci, who heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that Black people are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 because of how close they work in the community and more underlying health issues, something he called a “double disadvantage.”

The U.S. has been dealing with the pandemic for more than a year and people are exhausted over COVID-19 restrictions, but that the country isn’t ready to open back up, according to Fauci.

“We are not at that point yet where we can declare victory,” he told Start Your Day’s Sharon Reed and Mike Hill.

Earlier this week, Texas and Mississippi lifted their mask mandates, allowing businesses to resume operation at 100% capacity, a move that health experts said was ill-advised and that President Joe Biden called “Neanderthal thinking.”

Fauci said that the country has hit a plateau when it comes to daily infection, with around 60,000 to 70,000 new cases, numbers he still considered very high and dangerous.

“What we don’t need now is to have a rebound,” he said. “If you get the level of virus low by good public health measures, by continuing to get vaccinated, […] then you can start gradually pulling back on some of the public health measures.”

Over 520,000 people in the U.S. have died from COVID-19, according to data from the New York Times.

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