The top US public health official and chief medical adviser to Joe Biden, Dr Anthony Fauci, said the people of colour should be given priority for Covid-19 vaccines, recollecting the scourge of syphilis that taunted them in Alabama from the 1930s until the 1970s.
Fauci also noted the problem of vaccine hesitancy among the coloured people. "You absolutely have to respect the hesitancy of the minority population," Fauci told the New England Journal of Medicine. "They keep coming back and saying the history of Tuskegee."
In Alabama, for four decades since the 1930s, hundreds of black men with syphilis remained untreated due to hesitancy. In 2010, the US government revealed that in an experiment in the 1940s, Guatemalan prisoners and soldiers were deliberately infected with syphilis for research purpose and the scientist who ran it went on to work in Tuskegee. The government, of course, apologised.
Ever since the outbreak of coronavirus, the United States continues to be the worst affected country due to the pandemic. With over 26 million positive cases and nearly 445,000 deaths, the COVID-19 spread in the United States is showing no signs of slowing down.
Amid looming scare, top American immunologist Anthony Fauci has warned that the coronavirus situation in the United States could potentially get worsened in the coming weeks. The development of vaccines has certainly shown a light at the end of the tunnel, but he expressed his worries over new mutated variants that are getting detected in the country.
"I think it potentially could get worse. We certainly are seeing, thankfully, a plateauing in cases. However, the thing that's troublesome now, that we really need to keep our eye on, are these variants," said Fauci on MSNBC's Morning Joe.
Even though the number of new cases in the United States has fallen to 1,50,000 a day over the past few days from a peak of over 2,00,000, experts like Fauci believe that the numbers could spike drastically as coronavirus is becoming genetically diverse.
Presence of South African variant
The warning from Anthony Fauci comes at a time when health authorities in the United States confirmed the presence of the South African coronavirus variant in the country. This super-variant is considered more contagious than the original coronavirus that was first detected in China.
According to reports, this mutated COVID-19 variant has been discovered in two adults living in South Carolina. Shockingly, both these adults do not have any recent travel history, and it has made medical experts believe that there could be more infections that have been not identified yet. It is still unclear whether the currently developed vaccines will be effective against these super-variants.