Coronavirus

This Doctor Says Being Irresponsible About COVID Is Like Driving Without a Seatbelt

With COVID-19 cases rising in many states thanks to the Delta variant, one doctor is shifting the conversation to individual responsibility.

After months of top officials urging Americans to get vaccinated against COVID-19, and the shots being widely available, we're still seeing headlines about fake vaccine cards.

Just this week, two Canadians were fined for faking vaccine cards to get into the U.S. And a Chicago Tribune intern covering the massive Lollapalooza festival noticed some people using others' vaccination cards to get around city requirements (you have to either prove vaccination or show a negative COVID test result taken 72 hours before attending).

One Florida doctor is not having it.

"It's like getting a few too many drinks and deciding 'I'm going to drive just this once because I think I can do it.' Or putting my kid in the backseat of the car without strapping them in, or not putting my own seatbelt on: 'I'll do it just this one time and I'll make it home,'" says Dr. Jay Wolfson, the vice president of health, law and safety at the University of South Florida.

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In an interview with LX News on Monday, Wolfson drew comparisons between dangerous driving and being a dangerous citizen in an ongoing pandemic.

"It's up to each one of us to take responsibility and be respectful to others," he said.

Noticing the spike in COVID cases that has now surpassed summer 2020, medical experts are sounding the alarm, urging people to get vaccinated if they haven't already and to be responsible in public.

Much of that conversation has focused on personal responsibility as the Delta variant rages, particularly in less-vaccinated clusters across the country. A single person infected with the Delta variant can spread the infection to about five unvaccinated people, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said recently, noting that was more than twice the infection rate of the original COVID strain.

One of the key differences is that the Delta variant carries about 1,000 times more viral load in a person's nose compared to old variants like Alpha, Dr. Anthony Fauci told LX News Now Host Eric Alvarez recently.

"Which means that it really transmits much more easily," Fauci added.

"It really is a situation that is triggered by a number of people who are not vaccinated. Because if we got the overwhelming proportion of people in the country vaccinated, we would not be in this situation," Fauci said. "The spread of the virus is the spread among unvaccinated people, and it becomes really an epidemic or a pandemic among vaccinated people."

Dr. Anthony Fauci has been at the forefront of medical research and public health for decades, but he says there is a new and growing phenomenon of people “who deny reality that's looking them straight in the face.” And in an interview with LX News Now host Eric Alvarez, he compared those who want to deny the science of COVID-19 to those who also downplay the violent riots of Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol.