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The COVID-19 mutants ‘are here,’ Dr. Fauci says. Here’s how to stop them

Dr. Anthony Fauci recently spoke on the ‘Today’ show about the COVID-19 variants

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In this Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, file photo, a Walgreens pharmacist prepares a syringe with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for residents and staff at the The Palace assisted living facility in Coral Gables, Fla.

In this Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, file photo, a Walgreens pharmacist prepares a syringe with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for residents and staff at the The Palace assisted living facility in Coral Gables, Fla. Dr. Anthony Fauci recently spoke on the “Today” show about the COVID-19 variants and how vaccines can help.

Associated Press

Dr. Anthony Fauci didn’t hold back when he spoke with the “Today” show on Wednesday.

  • “The (COVID-19) mutants are here in the United States,” he said.

Fauci said the COVID-19 variants — which come from the United Kingdom, Brazil and South Africa — can be stopped, though.

  • “They are not dominant yet. We can prevent them from becoming dominant by trying to suppress the replication.”

The top U.S. infectious disease expert told the “Today” show the best way to stop the replication of the COVID-19 variant is to “continue to double down on public health measures to prevent spread from person to person” and also “get as many people vaccinated as you possibly can.”

  • “The more people that are protected from infection, the less opportunity you give to the virus to mutate. It can’t mutate if it doesn’t replicate. So the more you suppress it, the less it does.”
  • “If they do become dominant, we may need to upgrade the vaccine.”

Where are the variants?

NBC News created a map that can help you keep track of where the novel coronavirus variants are in the United States. So far, the map tracks the the U.K., South Africa variant and Brazilian variants.

How to defeat them

White House Senior Adviser for COVID Response Andy Slavitt recently told CNN that the United States can defeat the variants with the right tools in hand.

  • “Nothing about this news says we can’t defeat this thing,” he told CNN. “It just means we need more tools, and we need to be more united in doing it.”