Fauci: Americans Should Get Vaccinated Even if Merck’s Covid Pill Cuts Deaths

As the nation’s death toll climbed above 700,000 in October, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, an adviser on the pandemic to President Biden, emphasized the need for the 70 million Americans who are eligible for a vaccine to get immunized during interviews on Sunday morning talk shows.

“Many of those deaths were unavoidable but many, many are avoidable, were avoidable and will in the future be avoidable,” Dr. Fauci, who is also director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Dr. Fauci was enthusiastic about the development of the new Merck anti-viral pill, describing it as “extremely important.” In announcing the results of its clinical trial last Friday, Merck said the pill was able to cut the risk of hospitalization and death from the virus by half.

But he also warned that Americans should not wait to be vaccinated because they believe they can take the pill. While the new medicine may decrease a person’s risk, the best way to be protected is avoiding infection, he said.

Dr. Fauci also expressed optimism that the country was now seeing a slow down in cases, signaling a potential respite from the pandemic. “We certainly are turning a corner on this particular surge,” he said during an interview on “This Week” on ABC News.

But he also refused to predict whether people would be able to freely gather this coming Christmas, saying on CBS News that “it’s just too soon to tell.”

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