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At an online event for the CSIS Commission on Strengthening America’s Health Security, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, said the only way Americans will control the COVID-19 pandemic is if they unify in that pursuit.

It has nearly been a year since the pandemic began and has since taken more than 300,000 American lives. As disinformation continues to circulate, Americans remain uncertain.

Some people disregard public health measures and stay-at-home orders. As a result, the virus continues to spread. Continue reading to learn about Dr. Fauci’s thoughts on the future of this pandemic.

There is still a lot of work to do

Anthony Fauci

“It’s not make believe. It’s not a hoax. It’s not fake news, it’s real,” said Fauci. “And we’ve got to deal with it. Unless you realize and admit to the problem, you’ll never be able to fix it.”

“When a certain proportion of the population don’t even admit that this is a serious problem, we have a lot of work to do,” said Fauci.

The first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have begun to roll out to health care workers and will soon be available to everyone. According to recent polls, there are a significant amount of Americans reluctant to take it.

Earlier this month, an Associated Press poll found that only 47% of Americans want to get a COVID-19 vaccine; 27% are unsure, and 26% will not get vaccinated.

According to an ABC News/Ipsos poll, those numbers have since improved: More than eight in ten Americans said they would get vaccinated; 40% will take it once made available to them, and 44% plan on waiting a while before taking it. It was also found that 69% of Americans have either been infected or know who has been infected with COVID-19.

What can you do?

Spread Covid

“Despite the scientific advances of a vaccine, despite the fact that we’re capable from public health measures to do a lot, we still have a long way to go to get everybody on board, to pull together,” Fauci said. “The only way you’re going to get this pandemic under control is if we all pull together as a country and not in different directions as a divided nation.”

In regard to how we can achieve that, “We’re just going to have to try and keep reaching out to each other and realize that we have to come together,” Fauci said. “That sounds idealistic. But it’s the only way. We need to just keep trying and trying to get people to appreciate that this is a problem that involves all of us. We can’t deny it. It’s a problem that is involving the entire nation.”

Stay safe

To ensure your health and the health of those around you, continue following Fauci’s recommendations and the CDC guidelines. Wear your mask, stay home as much as possible, practice good hand hygiene and take the vaccine once made available to you.

Related: 17 Long-Term Effects of COVID-19, Straight from the CDC

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