The record levels of Covid-19 spread in India in recent weeks are a "cautionary tale" for the type of virus resurgence the US could see later this year if the country doesn't reach a high enough level of vaccinations.
"India had a mild to modest wave that peaked and then came down," Fauci said in a conversation on the Clubhouse app that was moderated by CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta on Tuesday afternoon. "They assumed that they were done. Then they had their big assault."
The country had opened up too early, with many people gathering in large crowds for festivals, he said.
"When I saw those pictures in the newspaper and saw the clips on CNN, I said to myself, 'Oh my goodness, this is gonna be a problem, because this is prematurely declaring victory,'" Fauci said. "And sure enough, the second wave was an explosion."
Although the US is well ahead of India with about 45% of its adults fully vaccinated, it's important to finish strong, Fauci explained.
"The cautionary tale is it ain't over until it's over. Don't declare victory prematurely," he said. "We have a very, very good start, but we have to finish ... It's kind of like spiking the ball on the five yard line before you get into the end zone. Keep going."