Dr. Anthony Fauci
Dr. Anthony FauciReuters

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top US expert on infectious diseases, said on Sunday that he does not think the United States will return to lockdowns, despite the rise in number of coronavirus cases due to the delta variant.

“I don't think we're going to see lockdowns. I think we have enough of the percentage of people in the country, not enough to crush the outbreak, but I believe enough to not allow us to get into the situation we were in last winter,” Fauci told ABC’s “This Week” in an interview.

He did, however, acknowledge that “things are going to get worse” and added that the country is “seeing an outbreak of the unvaccinated.”

“If you look at the acceleration of the number of cases, the seven-day average has gone up substantially. You know, what we really need to do, Jon, we say it over and over again, and it's the truth, we have 100 million people in this country who are eligible to be vaccinated who are not getting vaccinated. We are seeing an outbreak of the unvaccinated,” said Fauci, adding that there will likely be “some pain and suffering in the future.”

“We're looking, not, I believe, to lockdown, but we're looking to some pain and suffering in the future because we're seeing the cases go up, which is the reason why we keep saying over and over again, the solution to this is get vaccinated and this would not be happening,” he stated.

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that even vaccinated Americans wear face masks indoors in areas of high transmission of COVID-19, citing new evidence that vaccinated people can spread the delta variant.

Later, US President Joe Biden directed all federal employees and onsite contractors to show that they are vaccinated or otherwise submit to regular coronavirus testing.

Biden also instructed his administration to apply similar standards to all federal government contractors. The White House said it will encourage private sector employers to follow his lead.