Fauci says US not headed back to a lockdown even as infections surge

WASHINGTON: The United States is unlikely to be sent back into lockdown despite a surge in Covid-19 cases stemming from the Delta variant, top US scientist Anthony Fauci said.

America is in for "some pain and suffering in the future" but enough people have now been vaccinated to prevent a repeat of last winter's deadly surge, the infectious disease expert who advises President Joe Biden told ABC's This Week.

"I don't think we're going to see lockdowns," Dr Fauci said on Sunday, after Mr Biden this week said the US was probably headed for new restrictions because of the Delta variant surge.

Dr Fauci said people who are vaccinated run a very low risk of infection and even lower risk of hospitalisation or death if they do get sick.

"We are seeing an outbreak of the unvaccinated," he said.

National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins said on Sunday that new Covid-19 cases are up four-fold in the past few weeks but that vaccination rates are up sharply, too.

"The good news is that people are getting the message," he said.

Just under 60 per cent of the US population over age 12 is fully vaccinated, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said.

But there are wide disparities from one region to another as vaccination took on a political tint under former president Donald Trump, with the liberal north and east more open to getting a shot, and the conservative south more wary. - AFP