When you’re trying to assess the dangers of the latest coronavirus surge, look at hospitalizations. That number may indicate the true toll of the latest variant—Omicron—and unfortunately, hospitalizations are going up. How can you stay safe? Dr. Anthony Fauci , the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, appeared on Morning Joe earlier today. Read on for five pieces of life-saving advice—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID . Man is lying on bed amidst essential workers. "It’s a very difficult situation because we have superimposed on a Delta surge that was really quite serious going up before we even had Omicron—Omicron is different," said Dr. Fauci. "It has an extraordinary capability of transmitting very efficiently from person to person, which is the challenging part of it. The part that might be actually a silver lining—possibly, you don’t want to get too overly optimistic about it—but it appears at least from what we’re seeing in our colleagues in South Africa, that the severity of the disease is less. …So it very well may be that focusing on hospitalizations as the parameter that you really want to follow—and if they stay low and do not go back up. But we’re not there yet, we’re still getting increases in hospitalizations. So we better be careful we don’t jump the gun and think that we’re in good shape when we really still need to be extremely careful, getting people vaccinated, getting people boosted, making sure we wear masks. We’re in a tough situation with Omicron. It’s not something to be taken lightly." Man gesturing stop to nurse offering syringe with vaccine. Dr. Fauci doesn’t know for sure if Omicron is less severe but says "the group that we are really concerned about are the unvaccinated people, because even if this virus is inherently less severe, just that volume of the numbers of cases that we’re gonna have could actually put a stress on the hospital system. If you have 50 people who get infected and five of them are winding up getting seriously ill, and then you have a lowering of that percentage, but you have a thousand people getting infected, you’re still gonna have quantitatively more people going to the hospital. So that’s where we’re concerned about, particularly among the unvaccinated."