Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, pleaded Sunday for Americans to set aside politics and get the coronavirus vaccine, voicing concern that so-called “ideological rigidity” has become the major driver for low vaccination rates in certain parts of the country.

What You Need To Know

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci urged Sunday for Americans to put aside politics and get vaccinated against COVID-19 

  • COVID-19 cases are on the rise in parts of the country, as the highly infectious delta variant continues to spread nationwide

  • Dr. Fauci voiced concern that "ideological rigidity" has become the major driver for low vaccination rates in certain parts of the country

  • Fauci also said he was “horrified” by a video from CPAC this weekend that showed a crowd of attendees cheering after a speaker said the U.S. has not been able to meet its vaccine goal

“Vaccinations have nothing to do with politics – it’s a public health issue,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday.

Dr. Fauci said that COVID-19 “doesn’t know whether you're a Democrat or Republican or an independent … and yet there’s this divide of people wanting to get vaccinated, or not wanting to get vaccinated, which is really unfortunate because it’s losing lives.”

Fauci’s remarks come the number of new COVID-19 cases spiked again this week, with the U.S. reporting an average of 16,000 new cases a day – up 21% from the week before. In nine states, infections spiked by more than 50%, and in 24 states, 

The uptick is driven largely by the highly-transmissible delta variant, which now accounts for more than 51% of new cases nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On ABC's “This Week,” Fauci said the delta variant’s speed and level of transmission only deepen the urgency for Americans to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.  

“If you’re not vaccinated, you should be concerned," Fauci told host George Stephanopoulos. Delta “is a very nasty variant” of covid-19, he said, and spreads "much more easily and readily and efficiently" than other strains of coronavirus.

In appearances on three separate Sunday news shows, Fauci issue pleas for Americans to set aside political ideology in the interest of public health.

He also condemned the misguided belief that the government is trying to “force” Americans to receive the vaccine – an idea that has gained traction in some GOP circles – and said that continuing spread this type of misinformation will ultimately come at the cost of additional human lives.

"It is almost inexplicable why people, when they see the data in front of them, that they don't get vaccinated," Fauci on CBS' "Face the Nation.”

“Why are we having red states, and places in the south, that are very highly ideological in one way, not wanting to get vaccinations?” Fauci said on CNN. "Vaccinations have nothing to do with politics. It’s a public health issue.”

Fauci also said he was “horrified” by a video from the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Texas this weekend that showed a crowd of attendees cheering after a speaker said the U.S. has not been able to meet its vaccine goal.

“It’s – it’s horrifying,” Fauci told CNN’s Jake Tapper “I mean, they're cheering about someone saying that it's a good thing for people not to try and save their lives. I just don’t get that. I don't think that anybody who's thinking clearly can get that.”

Last month, a whopping 99.2% of all U.S. hospitalizations and deaths caused by covid-19 were among unvaccinated people, according to new CDC data. Still, vaccination rates have slowed; giving rise to new outbreak "hot spots" in some parts of the country, including  the South, the Midwest and Upper Mountain states.

Earlier this week, White House officials pleaded with unvaccinated individuals to get their vaccine, warning that, as the delta variant takes hold, cases in the U.S. will only continue to rise. “The bottom line is there’s simply no reason that anyone 12 and older should be severely impacted by this virus,” White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients told reporters at a press briefing Thursday.

That some Americans refuse to get the vaccine despite evidence proving its effectiveness in fighting the coronavirus is “very, very frustrating,” Fauci said on "Face the Nation" Sunday.

"We have more vaccines in this country than we know what to do with – everybody and anybody can get vaccinated – and then we have people [in other parts of] the world who would do anything to get vaccinated, because they appreciate the importance of safeguarding their health," Dr. Fauci added. “So it's a very, very frustrating situation.